Rugged, waterproof, and capable of operating in dusty environments, the TASKA Hand is the first bionic hand specifically designed to handle activities such as mowing lawns, operating light chainsaws or hedge trimmers, and washing the car.
What’s On This Page?
- A Quick Look at the Taska Hand
- Grip Patterns & Control System
- Thumb Rotation
- Proportional Speed Control
- Auto Grip
- Sensory Feedback
- Wrist Design
- Lift Capacity & Strength
- Water and Dust Resistance
- Glove Options
- User Software
- Suitability for Above-the-Elbow Solutions
- User Feedback Survey & Results
- Considerations Before Buying a Taska Hand
- Related Information
A Quick Look at the TASKA Hand
We don’t like using promotional videos to introduce bionic devices but these two short videos provide the best overview of the TASKA Hand:
Grip Patterns & Control System
The TASKA Hand offers 23 different grip patterns. This means 23 different patterns of digits closing (or not closing) to form a specific grip, such as these three examples:
However, as we point out for all bionic hands, having a large number of grip patterns isn’t particularly useful. The majority of people use only a few core grips for all tasks, so the more important measure is how well a hand performs these core grips.
The following short video demonstrates the TASKA using a few core grips to make breakfast.
How does the user select and control TASKA’s grips?
In general, myoelectric sensors are placed against the skin of the user’s residual limb to detect muscle movements. These movements are then translated to commands for the bionic hand, typically to open or close the hand or to change the selected grip.
TASKA is compatible with two different types of control systems:
- Dual-site, direct myoelectric control. This involves placing two sensors against the skin, one to detect the muscle movements typically used to close a natural hand, the other to detect the movements typically used to open and extend a hand. To change grips, the user is generally asked to rotate through the available grips or a subset of those grips. The defining characteristic of a direct control system is, as the name implies, that the user must directly and explicitly control all the bionic hand’s actions, which can be quite slow and cumbersome.
- A COAPT pattern recognition system. In this type of system, 8 to 16 myoelectric sensors are used to detected patterns of muscle movements. These patterns are then mapped to specific actions in the bionic hand, which may include the combined actions of selecting a grip and using it. This is a much more fluid and efficient way of controlling the hand but it’s also more expensive.
For more information on control systems in general, including detailed articles on each type of system, see Bionic Arm & Hand Control Systems.
Regardless of which type of system is used, TASKA provides convenient buttons on the back of its hand to speed up the process of switching grips:
The Home button on the left allows the user to toggle between two default core grips. By holding the button down for one second, you can also select a third core grip.
The EMG button in the middle allows the user to tell the hand whether to switch to specific grips based on certain muscle movements, such as opening/extending the hand for an extended duration.
Finally, the Hand button on the right allows the user to rotate through a set of predefined grips just by repeatedly pressing the button.
All of these options combined allow the user to control a TASKA Hand in many different ways.
The TASKA Hand offers automatic thumb rotation. This means that the thumb will automatically position itself opposite the fingers or parallel to them based on the selected grip.
Proportional Speed Control
As with most other myoelectric hands, the TASKA offers proportional speed control. This means that the hand will close with a speed and force that correlates to the strength of the muscle action used to trigger the close signal.
Similar to Ottobock’s bebionic Hand, the TASKA Hand has an anti-slip feature to help prevent losing hold of objects. However, TASKA cautions against relying on this feature. Additionally, it consumes significant battery power and is therefore best turned until it is needed.
Also, the fingers on the TASKA can spread laterally, which makes it easier to securely grip objects like this smartphone:
To our knowledge, the TASKA Hand does not offer any form of sensory feedback.
The TASKA comes with a flexible built-in wrist that can be locked in an up position (15 degrees of extension), down position (25 degrees of flexion), or in a neutral position. Locking is set via buttons near the wrist.
The TASKA also offers two types of wrist connectors:
- Low Profile Wrist;
- Quick Disconnect Wrist (QDW);
The Low Profile Wrist is waterproof but can only be rotated manually and only to 90 degrees. Also, the hand cannot be removed by the user for this type of wrist connector; only a clinician can remove it.
The QDW is an industry-standard wrist. It can be rotated electronically 360 degrees and can be easily removed and reattached by the user. However, it is not waterproof.
With a direct myoelectric control system, a specific muscle movement must be assigned to switch between hand control versus wrist control. When switched to wrist control, an open signal will rotate the hand in one direction while a close signal will rotate the hand in the other direction.
The user can also rotate the hand manually.
Lift Capacity & Grip Strength
We’re a little surprised that the lift capacity isn’t higher given TASKA’s intent on making a true working hand but we think this may have to do with maximizing durability (see next section).
As for grip strength, we’ve been unable to find the grip force in newtons for the overall hand, as its technical specifications only report grip force by finger.
The TASKA has several features designed to increase durability. Aside from being waterproof and highly resistant to dust, it also has increased shock absorption in the fingers. If you happen to bang the hand against something by accident, you’re unlikely to damage it.
Additionally, the hand has collapsible fingers. Therefore, if you fall on the fingers or otherwise put too much pressure on them, they’ll simply collapse instead of breaking. To get the fingers back to their default position, all you have to do is restart the hand.
You can view some of the ruggedness of the hand in this video, where the TASKA is used in some fairly vigorous sculpting tasks:
For a more complete discussion of what you should and shouldn’t do with a TASKA Hand, we’ve dug up this two-video review on the YouTube Channel Myoelectric Outdoors.
We also encourage you to read the comments below these two videos.
In case you don’t have time to do all this, we’ll repeat a couple of key points made by the narrator. The TASKA Hand does seem to be a step forward in robustness. This very experienced user of myoelectric hands likes his TASKA, whereas he did not have good experiences with Ossur’s i-Limb or Ottobock’s bebionic Hand (though he does love Ottobock’s Michelangelo Hand). This suggests that TASKA has successfully hit its target market.
But note the narrator’s cautionary comments about the durability limits of bionic hands in general, including the TASKA. This is evident by his continued reliance on his Ottobock Greifer for any truly heavy-duty tasks.
Water and Dust Resistance
The TASKA Hand is the only hand currently on the market that is both waterproof and dustproof. It has an IP rating of 67, meaning that it is totally protected against dust and can also be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes.
Note that it can be submerged past the wrist if using the Low Profile Wrist connector, but only below the wrist if using the QDW (see the Wrist Design subsection above).
The TASKA Hand does not require a glove. It is already waterproof and dustproof, and it already has soft grips on the fingers and thumbs to securely grasp objects, all without a glove.
TASKA’S battery on a full charge will power at least 400 grip actions before its grip force weakens.
Once fully drained, the battery requires four hours to fully recharge.
TASKA recommends charging the battery each night, and replacing the battery once per year.
TASKA provides a software application called “HandCal” for both IOS and Android mobile devices. This application allows users to:
- Create custom grips that define new open and close positions for the hand’s fingers and thumb.
- Add, remove, and re-order grips.
- Access training programs and games to perfect gestures and movements.
Suitability for Above-the-Elbow Solutions
The TASKA Hand is suitable for above-the-elbow solutions. Ultimately, the hand receives its commands and carries out the required actions whether it is part of a hand-only system or a system involving wrist, elbow, and/or shoulder components.
In a system that involves integrated control over multiple components, the TASKA will receive its commands from a control system acting as the master controller for all components.
According to our information, the TASKA Hand sells for around $35,000, which puts it in the same price range as the bebionic Hand, but less than either the i-Limb or the Michelangelo Hand. For a complete list of prices, see our Bionic Hand Price List.
TASKA offers a two-year limited warranty against manufacturing or parts defects for TASKA components.
Users can purchase a Limited Extended Warranty in one-year increments for up to three additional years, providing up to five years of coverage in total.
While under warranty, the hand must be serviced once per year. This is typically arranged through your prosthetist. Loaner units are provided during all service repairs.
User Feedback Survey & Results
Are you currently using the TASKA 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 TASKA Hand.
As soon as we do, we’ll update this section.
Considerations Before Buying the TASKA Hand
It is difficult for us to provide much guidance on the TASKA Hand at this point, mainly because we don’t yet have enough independent user feedback.
Certainly, if you want a rugged hand for medium-duty work — especially outdoors — the TASKA should be a candidate.
Based on the video footage we’ve seen so far, we suspect that its appeal may be much broader than this. It may, in fact, be a close runner-up to the Michelangelo Hand at a much lower price. But until we get more user feedback, we just can’t say. Therefore, our main advice on the TASKA Hand is that, if you’re interested in it, try to speak with as many firsthand users of the hand as possible. Don’t rely on the manufacturer to find these users but instead work back through your prosthetist or local amputee charity/support groups.
For a comprehensive description of all current upper-limb technologies, devices, and research, see our complete guide.
For a list of competitor devices, see All Bionic Hands.
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 TASKA Prosthetics.