MaxBionic’s MeHand appears to exhibit a level of user control, dexterity, and responsiveness found in much more expensive bionic hand systems.
What’s On This Page?
- A Quick Look at the MeHand
- Grip Patterns & Control System
- Thumb Rotation
- Proportional Speed Control
- Sensory Feedback
- Wrist Design
- Lift Capacity & Grip Strength
- Water and Dust Resistance
- Glove Options
- User Software
- Suitability for Above-the-Elbow Solutions
- Clinical Insights
- User Feedback Survey & Results
- Considerations Before Buying a MeHand
- Related Information
A Quick Look at the MeHand
The following short video provides a quick visual look at the MeHand, though it isn’t particularly informative:
We suspect that this next video is highly informative but, unfortunately, we are unable to obtain an English translation. Still, the tasks performed here suggest that the MeHand is a serious contender in the bionic hand space:
We are especially impressed by the MeHand’s ability to grasp objects with fine control. There is no question that the bilateral amputee in this video is performing tasks that would be difficult, if not impossible, without bionic hands.
Note that the MeHand will eventually offer two models: the MeHandA, which is the premium version, and the MeHandB, which is aimed at a lower-priced segment of the market. We will describe the differences where appropriate.
Grip Patterns & Control System
The MeHand takes a unique approach to its control system, as it consists of both grips and gestures.
Grips match the traditional definition of grip patterns, where the hand’s digits move according to pre-programmed designs. For example, the pinch, power, and key grips, etc.
Gestures are not used to perform everyday tasks but instead represent hand symbols such as “thumbs up”.
MeHand supports 27 grip patterns and 14 gestures at any one time. As many as 200 different grip patterns and gestures can be downloaded as alternatives for these 41 “slots”. The MeHandA also has a grip generator that allows users to create their own grip patterns.
Grip patterns and gestures aside, MeHand places most of its emphasis on user control. An active filtering mechanism suppresses noise to isolate the intended signal. To reduce the delay between commands and improve responsiveness, the hand’s microcontroller uses seven microprocessors with its own computing circuit.
Combined with the hand’s extensive setup & configuration parameters, MaxBionic claims that it can achieve the same functionality as Ottobock’s Myo Plus while using only a 2-channel myoelectric system. If this is true, it represents a major advance in 2-channel systems.
The MeHandA offers electric thumb rotation. This means that the thumb will automatically position itself opposite the fingers or parallel to them based on the selected grip.
To help reduce costs, the MeHandB will offer passive rotation, meaning that users will have to position the thumb manually.
Proportional Speed Control
The MeHand offers both proportional control and linear control when closing the hand.
Found in most bionic hands, proportional control means that the hand closes with a speed and strength corresponding to the speed and strength of the muscle signals generated by the user. This method is for users with good muscular control.
Linear control allows the user to incrementally close a hand with repeated short bursts of the close signal. The speed/strength of each closing action remains constant. This is ideal for users who lack the muscular control required for the proportional method.
The MeHandA provides vibrotactile feedback through a vibration motor laminated into the prosthesis socket. Vibration is used to inform the user of grip/gesture changes, the sensation of grasping an object, and the amount of grip force being applied. The harder the hand squeezes, the stronger the vibration.
Note that this feature is not available for the MeHandB.
The MeHand comes with an industry-standard Quick Disconnect Wrist that offers passive rotation. This allows users to quickly swap the hand for another device, such as an Electric Terminal Device (ETD).
Lift Capacity & Grip Strength
The MeHand can carry 30 kilograms of a static load with a maximum of 15 kilograms for one finger. The hand can exert 140 Newtons of force in a power grip, which is in the upper tier of the industry. Note that an average of 70 Newtons is required for most daily activities.
The MeHand uses the same type of rugged components that we are seeing in other new or updated bionic hands: titanium for its key structural elements, covers made of polymer composites, and two-component molding with rubber for shock absorption.
What differs about MaxBionic is its preparation for real-life wear and tear. The company is opening local service centers in all its sales markets. They offer free technical maintenance (cleaning, lubrication, etc.) every six months while under warranty. They even allow users to apply for a free replacement of worn parts one time during the warranty period.
This suggests that they are tackling the practical realities of bionic hand maintenance. Still, we can’t gauge the true durability of the MeHand simply from these feature descriptions. In keeping with our policy for all bionic hands, we will rely instead on the results of our User Satisfaction Survey. But since the MeHand is a new device, we expect it will be a few years before we have sufficient feedback to report results.
Water and Dust Resistance
The MeHand has an IP rating of 54, meaning that it has limited protection against dust, and is protected against water splashing from any angle. This does not mean that the hand is dustproof or waterproof. Truly waterproof hands include the TASKA Hand, the Vincent Evolution, and, starting in 2024, the Atom Touch.
The MeHand does not require or offer a glove.
MeHand offers two batteries: 1500 mAh and 4500 mAh. The MeHandA comes with a proprietary fast charger that allows it to charge the 1500 mAh battery to 85% capacity in only 40 minutes, and the 4500 mAh battery to 80% capacity in only 65 minutes.
The MeHand comes with user software called, “MeOn”. This gives users access to grip & gesture configurations, myoelectric filters, and hand-delay settings. Unfortunately, we do not yet have an English-language video to demonstrate this software.
Suitability for Above-the-Elbow Solutions
The MeHand is a component hand (i.e. designed for use with other bionic components) and has been tested for compatibility with Steeper’s Espire line of elbows.
According to our information, the MeHandA will sell for between $30,000 and $40,000 US for a typical below-the-elbow solution in the U.S. market, including all prosthetist fees.
When it is released, the MeHandB will sell for between $20,000 to $30,000 US.
For a complete list of prices for other bionic hands, please see our Bionic Hand Price List.
The MeHand is already available in Russia, Germany, and the Commonwealth of Independent (CIS) countries, which includes Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine.
The hand is also already in trials in the U.K. and is now going through the FDA approval process in the U.S. The official launch date for both countries is dependent on their trial/approval processes.
The MeHand comes with a 2-year basic warranty. Users can pay to extend the warranty but we don’t yet have the details for this option.
The following comments are from clinicians with extensive experience with the MeHand:
User Feedback Survey & Results
Are you currently using the MeHand 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 MeHand.
As soon as we do, we’ll update this section.
Considerations Before Buying a MeHand
The main issue for the MeHand appears to be its control system. If it can truly deliver the same control performance as Ottobock’s Myo Plus pattern recognition system while only using 2-channel myoelectric input, then this is not only a compelling reason for end-users to choose the MeHand — it may also have a profound effect on pattern recognition systems as a whole.
However, as with the claims of many other new bionic hands, we have no way to verify this feature until it’s been on the market for a few years and we get feedback from a sufficient number of end-users.
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 Arm & 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 MaxBionic.