UNFORTUNATELY, HY5 IS NO LONGER AN ACTIVE ENTITY. BUT THEY DEMONSTRATED CONSIDERABLE INNOVATION IN CREATING THE MYHAND, AND WE SUSPECT THAT SOME OF THAT INNOVATION WILL CONTINUE TO HELP DRIVE THE BIONIC HAND INDUSTRY FORWARD IN OTHER WAYS, EVEN IF ONLY BY EXAMPLE.
WE’RE GOING TO LEAVE THE CONTENT BELOW IN PLACE IN CASE THE MYHAND EVER GETS RESURRECTED, BUT WE HAVE REMOVED ALL REFERENCES TO IT FROM ALL RELEVANT LISTS AND ARTICLES. NOTE, ALSO, THAT MOST OF THE VIDEO LINKS IN THE ARTICLE BELOW NO LONGER WORK BECAUSE THEY WERE REMOVED AT SOURCE.
What’s On This Page?
- A Quick Look at the MyHand
- Grip Patterns & Control System
- Thumb Rotation
- Proportional Speed Control
- Auto Grasp
- Sensory Feedback
- Wrist Design
- Lift Capacity & Grip Strength
- Water and Dust Resistance
- Glove Options
- User Software
- Suitability for Above-the-Elbow Solutions
- User Feedback Survey & Results
- Considerations Before Buying a MyHand
- Related Information
A Quick Look at the MyHand
We’re going to use two short videos to introduce the MyHand. The first shows the apparently rugged nature of the hand:
This next video provides a better overview of the hand, though we elaborate significantly on many of these points in subsequent sections:
MyHand Key Features
Grip Patterns & Control System
The MyHand is unique among all the bionic hands that we cover. It uses myoelectric control to trigger the open and close actions for the hand, which is why we still classify it as a bionic device, but it uses hydraulics to execute the open and close actions.
It does not use myoelectric control to switch between its five available grips. Instead, it uses the Pinch pattern as its default grip:
For all other grips, the user can quickly change the grip by manually manipulating the fingers using either the other hand or a hard surface, such as a tabletop. This is demonstrated in the following videos:
This is quite different from all the other bionic hands that we have written about, but there are a couple of points in favor of MyHand’s approach:
- First, MyHand is not attempting to compete with the high-end multi-articulating bionic hands on the market. Its goal is to provide a simple, robust, more affordable hand that is still highly functional.
- One of the greatest frustrations with mainstream bionic hands is that switching grips using myoelectric control can be slow and cumbersome. Many manufacturers are trying to address this problem with simpler ways to switch grips. We think that MyHand’s approach is a viable solution.
- Some hands have up to 36 available grip patterns, dwarfing MyHand’s 5 patterns. But studies show that most people only use 2 to 4 grips, and that they use their favorite grip about 70 % of the time. As such, we don’t view MyHand’s limited number of grips as much of a liability, if any.
One additional note of interest. The MyHand uses only one motor with three hydraulic cylinders — one each for the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger (the ring finger and pinky passively follow the middle finger). Most bionic hands use one motor per digit. This design has numerous implications, which we describe more fully in the relevant sections below.
The grips offered by the MyHand do not require thumb rotation. The thumb always either opposes the fingers or folds over the top of them.
Proportional Speed Control
Proportional speed control refers to the user’s ability to control the speed and force of a bionic hand’s grip by increasing or decreasing the speed/strength of the muscle movement needed to trigger a close signal.
The MyHand uses this same approach.
Similar to a few other bionic hands, the MyHand can sense if an object is slipping through its fingers. If so, it will automatically tighten its grip. This feature can be turned on/off by pushing the on/off button three times in succession or via the Hy5 software application (Hy5 App).
Here is an example of this feature:
The MyHand does not currently offer any form of sensory feedback but Hy5 is working on this feature and hopes to incorporate in the near future.
The MyHand offers an industry-standard Electric Quick Disconnect (EQD) wrist, which it calls “MyWrist”. In addition to providing a mechanism by which the MyHand can be quickly removed from a socket, it also allows 360 degrees of rotation.
Here’s a closer look at MyWrist’s design:
Lift Capacity & Grip Strength
The MyHand offers a maximum finger load limit of 20 kilograms and a maximum hand load limit of 40 kg using the Fist grip. It also offers a maximum grip strength of 120 Newtons, which is on the high side of the industry. Having said that, grip force tends to be measured in different ways by different companies, so comparisons between the grip strengths of competing hands may not be reliable.
Certainly, the video at the top of this article suggests that the MyHand was designed to be rugged. However, as we continue to receive input from our User Satisfaction Surveys on many bionic limb devices, we can attest that the user experience often seems to differ from the one portrayed in marketing videos.
That having been said, the MyHand has several features specifically intended to improve durability, including:
Simpler Design With a Reduced Part Count
The following picture depicts the components that make up the MyHand:
This is a simpler design than those used for other multi-articulating bionic hands. Fewer parts means fewer things to break.
Only One Motor Plus Hydraulics
As mentioned earlier, most bionic hands use one motor for each digit, whereas the MyHand uses only a single motor to control three hydraulic cylinders — one each for the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger (the ring finger and pinky passively follow the middle finger). Depending on how you view hydraulics, this by itself should make the hand more robust.
The MyHand’s fingers are 3D-printed in titanium, which, according to the company, makes them very strong and hard to break. However, we currently have no way to compare their durability to that of stainless steel or special plastic fingers.
Do these features make the MyHand more durable than most of its competitors? We think the answer is likely “yes”, but the only way to know for certain will be to wait until we have sufficient feedback through our User Satisfaction Survey.
Water and Dust Resistance
Although we do not have an official IP rating for the MyHand, we do know that it doesn’t tolerate water very well. The user guide explicitly states that the MyHand should not be used in water, and that if water does enter the internal components of the hand, failure is likely to occur. The guide also says that the MyHand must always be used with a covering glove (see next section) for protection from both water and dirt, and that the glove must not have any holes.
However, Hy5 has informed us that they plan to release a waterproof version of the hand by the end of 2021. We’ll update this section once that occurs.
The Atom Touch will also join the water-proof club when it is launched in 2024.
As mentioned, the MyHand must be used with a glove — specifically, the MySkin glove:
In addition to the skin-tone version in the picture, MyGlove is also available in flat black and a semi-transparent version.
The functional purpose of the glove is to protect the MyHand from water and dirt, and to provide a better grip.
The MyHand uses one lithium polymer 5A battery.
Hy5 does not currently offer its own battery system, though it will shortly. In the meantime, the company recommends the FlexCell battery (4-FlexCell Battery Kit, 7.4V 2200mAh,7A discharge current, Ottobock 2-pin connector) or an equivalent.
Depending on the hand’s usage, this type of battery should last a full day from morning to evening. The company recommends charging the battery each night, which should require 3-4 hours if fully drained.
The MyHand offers the Hy5 App, currently available for IOS (Apple) devices.
This application can be used both by a prosthetist to configure the hand, and also by an end-user to check the hand’s battery status, turn on/off features, and practice control using Hy5’s training games.
The following video provides a more complete description:
Suitability for Above-the-Elbow Solutions
The MyHand can be combined with electric elbows to form an above-the elbow solution.
The MyHand will sell for between $10,000 and $20,000 US in the US market, though this is one of the few hands that will be closer to the $10,000 price point. This price represents not only the hand but also the socket and prosthetist fees for a typical solution in the U.S.
For a complete list of prices for bionic hands, please see our Bionic Hand Price List.
The MyHand currently sells in the USA, UK, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, and Japan.
The MyHand offers a 2-year standard warranty against defects in materials or workmanship under normal use.
An extended warranty can be purchased by the user to increase the warranty period to three years.
User Feedback Survey & Results
Are you currently using the MyHand or have you used it in the past?
If so, why not help others by sharing your experiences in this quick survey:
We do not yet have a sufficient number of survey participants to publish fair and accurate results for the MyHand.
As soon as we do, we’ll update this section.
Considerations Before Buying the MyHand
We are admittedly intrigued by Hy5’s approach to the bionic hand market. The MyHand strikes us as a much-needed device between the durable but somewhat limited powered hooks and grippers, versus the fully myoelectric multi-articulating hands.
We are also impressed by the company’s transparency with us. They have been very open and supportive in helping us to understand their device.
That having been said, we are adopting our now universal stance on all bionic devices. Until we hear back from end-users through our User Satisfaction Survey, we reserve judgment.
For a list of competitor devices, see All Bionic Hands.
For a comprehensive description of all current upper-limb technologies, devices, and research, see our complete guide.
If you are shopping for a bionic hand, do not miss our article on Bionic Hand Control Systems. Getting this part of your bionic system right is probably the biggest single ingredient in your long-term satisfaction.
Click here for more information on Hy5.