In a joint project with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the school has designed a nervous system that costs about $500 to make: an inflatable hand made of eco-flex silicone rubber.
The device forgoes electric motors in favor of an air system that inflates and bends its balloon-like figures. The hand can hold various grips that allow an amputee to do things like patting a cat, pouring a carton of milk or even picking up food. The device also translates how the wearer wants to use it, through a program that decodes the EMG signals and sends them to the affected limb by the brain.
The site explained that the prosthesis weighs about half a pound, and can restore some feeling to its user, using a series of pressure sensors. When the wearer touches or presses on an object, it sends an electrical signal to a specific location on the amputated arm.
Another advantage of the arm is that it doesn't take long to learn how to use it; After about 15 minutes, two volunteers were able to write with a pen.