Motorica’s INDY Hand is a direct competitor to Electric Terminal Devices (ETDs) from Ottobock and Fillauer, but with more features and a lower price.
What’s On This Page?
- A Quick Look at the INDY Hand
- 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
- Additional Features
- User Feedback Survey & Results
- Considerations Before Buying an INDY Hand
- Related Information
A Quick Look at the INDY Hand
For those not familiar with the concept of Electric Terminal Devices (ETDs), these are myoelectric devices that generally offer only one grip pattern — basically a pinch grip — where the active digits open and close in unison.
In the case of ETD hands, the active digits are typically the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger. The ring finger and pinky tend to be passive. However, with the INDY hand, the ring finger and pinky do actively move in unison with the other fingers, though the act of pinching/gripping still mainly utilizes the forefinger and middle finger, as these are the only digits that can press against the thumb.
By comparison, a multi-articulating myoelectric/bionic hand typically has five digits that can each move independently to form a large number of potential grips.
So why would someone choose an ETD hand over a multi-articulating hand? The most common reasons are that ETD hands:
- are easier to control;
- have fewer moving parts and are therefore more durable;
- they’re faster;
- they cost less.
The ETD hand market has been dominated by Ottobock and Fillauer for many years, as you can see from this list of current upper-limb ETDs.
The INDY Hand seems poised to change this.
Unfortunately, describing it with videos is going to be a bit challenging because the company has not yet made a lot of demonstration videos for potential users in English. Still, here is a quick look at the INDY. Note, this first video is from 2019 and therefore uses INDY’s previous name, “Stradivari”:
And here is a video of the INDY Hand competing in the 2020 Cybathlon. There is no narration but the hand’s use in various tasks is quite instructive:
INDY Hand Key Features
Grip Patterns & Control System
As with most bionic upper-limb devices, INDY’s control system works with electrodes that read the electric potential from the muscles of the stump at the time of their contraction.
Because INDY has only one grip pattern — opening and closing all five digits in unison — its control system is simpler than that of a multi-articulating bionic hand. But it does offer two options to exert control: a one or two-channel myoelectric system. The one-channel system supports users who do not have sufficient space or musculature on their residual limb for two myoelectric sensors.
The INDY does not offer advanced control features like auto-grasp (automatic tightening of its grip if it senses that an object is slipping) or a flex-grip (allows the user to passively change the position of an object being held without having to open and re-close the device), which are offered by Ottobock’s SensorHand Speed device.
However, this is not so much a feature deficiency as a matter of personal preference. Some users simply prefer to exert manual control over their terminal devices. Besides, INDY has a couple of unique and advanced features of its own.
The INDY Hand thumb does not rotate, as this action is not part of its only grip pattern. Nor is it a feature of any ETD Hand.
Proportional Speed Control
The INDY Hand offers proportional speed control based on the strength of the user’s muscle signal, which is how most bionic hands address this issue.
INDY is not the fastest ETD hand on the market. That title belongs to Ottobock’s Speed hands. But INDY has been designed to minimize lag time, and the company has not had any complaints about speed from its many customers.
The INDY Hand does not provide any sensory feedback.
The INDY Hand offers passive, 360-degree wrist rotation.
Lift Capacity & Grip Strength
The lift capacity for the INDY Hand is 14 kilograms. The grip force is between 100 to 140 Newtons, which is quite high considering the average grip force used in daily activities is about 70 Newtons. However, grip force tends to be measured in different ways by different companies, so comparisons between the grip strengths of competing devices may not be reliable.
Most ETDs are quite rugged compared to multi-articulating bionic hands because they have fewer moving parts. We expect that INDY falls into this same category. Additionally, because INDY has much better water and dust resistance than all other ETDs (see next section), we expect it to have superior overall durability compared to its competitors.
However, we rely mostly on the results of our User Satisfaction Survey for an objective assessment of any bionic device’s durability. Because the INDY is new to us, it will likely be a while before we have reliable durability data.
Water and Dust Resistance
The INDY Hand has an IP56 rating, meaning that it is protected from dust and from water splashing and/or low-pressure water jets from any angle. However, it cannot be submerged in water and Motorica does not recommend its use for swimming or in the shower.
For those who prefer a natural appearance, the INDY hand offers PVC or silicon gloves in a wide range of skin colors.
What makes the INDY unique among ETDs is that it also offers custom designs, including cool robotic looks:
This flexibility in appearance is more important than you might think. Many users prefer the durability and usefulness of ETDs over multi-articulating bionic hands for certain tasks, especially repetitive tasks where reliable control and device speed are especially important. However, users are increasingly choosing a customized look for all types of prostheses as a form of personal expression.
The INDY Hand is the first bionic device to combine both of these features.
Also, INDY’s custom fingertips (i.e. the hand without a cosmetic glove) are designed to operate touch computer devices.
IINDY offers two battery options, one with a 1200 mAh capacity, which is enough for 24 hours of prosthesis operation, and another with a 2500 mAh capacity that provides 48 hours of operation.
Both battery options should be sufficient to operate the INDY for at least a full day, depending on the level and nature of the activities. Most users recharge the battery at night.
A full recharge requires three to five hours depending on the size of the battery. The battery can be charged using a wall socket, USB-C cable, or a >3A power bank.
INDY does provide user software in the form of the Motorica Control App. This app can be used to change the prosthesis control mode, amplitude, time analysis, and recording of myoelectric activity in the residual limb.
We do not yet have any videos or screenshots of this app, but we will update this article as soon as we do.
Suitability for Above-the-Elbow Solutions
We do not yet know if the INDY Hand can participate in above-the-elbow solutions. We will update this article as soon as we clarify this issue and obtain a list of compatible electric elbows, if any.
Based on our information, the INDY Hand sells for $6,000 US in most of its markets outside the United States.
For a complete list of prices for upper-limb ETDs, please see our ETD price list.
The INDY Hand is currently available in India, France, the UAE and other Gulf countries that can access installation in the UAE, Malaysia, and South Africa and other African countries that can access installation in South Africa.
The INDY Hand offers a one-year standard warranty against defects in materials or workmanship under normal use.
The mechanical wrists, controllers, and EMG sensors are covered for two years.
Note, however, that the warranty does not apply to cosmetic and forming shells, residual limb sleeves, chargers, or batteries.
Also, there do not appear to be any options to extend the warranty.
This is a new section that we’re now adding to all bionic hand and ETD device articles because manufacturers are beginning to offer hi-tech features that we’ve never seen before.
For the INDY Hand, this includes the following:
- the previously mentioned ability of the custom (i.e non-glove) fingertips to interact with touchscreen interfaces;
- Bluetooth connectivity between the INDY and the App;
- you can integrate contactless payment features into the hand to make purchases easier;
- you can incorporate a small screen into the forearm socket shell or, alternatively, a smartwatch or smartphone.
Some of these may seem like novel gadgets but they are, in fact, a whole new horizon of capabilities that will increasingly allow bionic limbs to exceed the capabilities of natural limbs.
User Feedback Survey & Results
Are you currently using the INDY Hand 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 INDY Hand.
As soon as we do, we’ll update this section.
Considerations Before Buying the INDY Hand
As is increasingly the case with bionic limb companies in Eastern Europe and Asia, we’re seeing an explosion of technologies and creative ideas that are simply too compelling to ignore.
This is certainly true of the INDY Hand. In many respects, it is the world’s first hybrid of a bionic hand and an ETD. That is, it has the simplicity and durability of an ETD, yet the appearance and features of a bionic hand with a modern robotic design. Because of this, it may eliminate the need for some users to purchase both a multi-articulating bionic hand and an ETD.
Normally, we’d be cautioning you here about doing business with a startup, but Motorica appears to have moved beyond its start-up phase, as it has:
- been in business since 2014;
- produced more than 2,400 prostheses since 2016;
- has a team of 86 engineers, coders, customer care, and medical professionals;
- operates in 12 countries.
That having been said, we will of course be reserving our final judgment until we hear back from end-users through our User Satisfaction Survey.
For a list of competitor devices, see all upper-limb ETDs.
For a comprehensive description of all current upper-limb technologies, devices, and research, see our complete guide.
Click here for more information on Motorica.