Following seven years of development, TASKA Prosthetics began selling their myoelectric hand in 2017. Rugged, waterproof, and capable of operating in dusty environments, the TASKA Hand is the first myoelectric hand specifically built to handle medium-duty activities such as mowing lawns, operating light chain saws or hedge trimmers, and washing the car.
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. You can view five-second videos of each grip pattern here: TASKA Grip Patterns.
However, as we point out for other myoelectric hands, having a large number of grip patterns isn’t particularly useful. The majority of people use only a few core grips, so the more important measure is how well a hand performs these core grips.
To demonstrate this, we prefer showing videos of users performing real tasks. In this case, we’ve found two.
The first is a very impressive demonstration of how incredibly useful the TASKA Hand can be in a daily task like making breakfast:
This next video shows a few sequences of a sculptor at work. He is obviously quite happy with his TASKA. However, did you notice his awkward handling of the mallet toward the end of the video? It would have been very informative to see how that task ended!
One other point about grip patterns is the convenient button on the back of the Taska that allows users to quickly cycle through its three core grips. This spares users from the sometimes slow process of cycling through grips via myoelectric signals.
Electronically Positioned Thumb
The TASKA Hand offers an automatic, electronically positioned thumb. Based on the limited video we’ve seen, its thumb movement appears to be fluid and intuitive, similar to the way the thumb moves on Ottobock’s Michelangelo Hand. But we’d love to see a lot more footage!
The fingers on the TASKA are able to spread laterally, which makes it easier to grip objects like this smartphone:
The TASKA Hand comes with an in-built flexible wrist that offers three lockable positions. We searched for a video with a good demonstration of wrist function but couldn’t find one. However, we wanted to insert this point so that at least you’d know to ask your prosthetist about it.
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 auto-slip function that will automatically re-grip an object if the hand senses that the object is slipping its grasp.
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 hand overall, as its technical specifications only report grip force by finger.
The TASKA has a number of features designed specifically to increase durability. Aside from being waterproof and 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.
But don’t listen to us about durability. We’ve found someone with extensive experience on the subject, having put many of current myoelectric hands to the test in a fairly rugged environment. This person runs the YouTube Channel Myolectric Outdoors.
Fortunately, he’s recently completed a two-video review of the TASKA Hand:
We also encourage you to read the comments below each video.
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). It therefore appears that TASKA has successfully hit its target market.
But note, also, that the narrator is very aware of the durability limits of myoelectric hands in general, including the TASKA. This is evident by his continued reliance on his Ottobock Greifer for any truly heavy tasks.
According to our information, the TASKA Hand sells for around $35,000, which puts it in the same price range of 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.
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 lack field data from real users.
Certainly, if you want a rugged hand for medium-duty work — especially outdoors — this device should be a candidate.
Based on the limited footage we’ve seen, 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 see more user reviews, 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 more information on upper limb bionics, see Understanding Bionic Arms & Hands.
If you are shopping for a bionic hand, do not miss our article on Myoelectric 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.