We spend a lot of time at BionicsForEveryone.com tracking research on bionic limbs so that we can summarize it for the average end-user. You can see this for yourself on our Latest Research Articles page.
We do this because it helps end-users to plot their technology path forward, especially as they approach their next upgrade.
Another way to monitor progress is by examining the most advanced bionic limbs in the world. This is relevant because the advanced technologies of today will soon trickle down into lower-priced devices — a trend that seems to be accelerating.
Here, as of April 2021, is our list of the most advanced bionic limbs that are already on the market or about to be.
Most Advanced Bionic Arm & Hand
Normally, we would have selected the Luke Arm from Mobius Bionics as the top bionic arm, and the Michelangelo Hand from Ottobock as the top bionic hand, but the modular Atom Touch will fill both slots when it is released in 2022.
What makes the Atom Touch so advanced? Try 26 degrees of freedom, 200 sensors capable of generating four types of sensory data (contact, force, position, and velocity), and a control system that will permit individual finger movements. Oh, and it’s water- and dust-proof, too.
Look for this device to completely shake up the premium end of the market with reverberations down to at least the middle-tier devices. Why do we say this? Because the moment users start to experience true sensory feedback, everyone will want it.
Most Advanced Electric Elbow
We’re going to start this section with a caveat. Without sufficient feedback from our User Satisfaction Surveys for electric elbows, we can’t be certain which elbow is truly the best.
We’re going with Steeper’s Espire here because it is the first entirely new electric elbow in some time, and it appears to have benefitted from modern components and design techniques. It also offers built-in myoelectric recalibration — a feature not offered by its competitors.
Most Advanced Bionic Knee
This was an easy choice. Originally designed to help above-the-knee amputee soldiers return to the battlefield, the Genium X3 does it all: running, hiking, swimming, and more.
We don’t quite have enough feedback in our User Satisfaction Surveys to publish the results just yet, but most users seem extremely happy with it. If you watch the videos embedded in our article, what really stands out is how confident users are with the knee even in the most challenging situations.
The downside? A $100,000 + US price tag for a complete solution. We need to find a way to make this technology available to everyone!
Most Advanced Bionic Ankle/Foot
We’ve selected the Empower Ankle from Ottobock because it is the only bionic ankle/foot to offer added propulsive power on push-off. Also, if you watch the videos embedded in our article, you will see double below-the-knee amputees running up and down some very challenging terrain as if it’s no challenge at all.
That having been said, we have had feedback in our User Satisfaction Surveys to suggest that user compatibility is more important with this device than any other bionic ankle/foot that we’ve reviewed. Put another way, many users love this device but others dislike it because the power-assisted push-off apparently interferes with their gait.
It’s also pricey at $50,000 US for a complete solution.
That’s our take on the world’s most advanced bionic limbs as of April 2021.
If you disagree with our list, please contact us through our contact form and let us know why.
Otherwise, remember that we update all the articles on our website every few months, so check back once in a while to see if our rankings have changed.
For a comprehensive description of all current upper-limb technologies, devices, and research, see A Complete Guide to Bionic Arms & Hands.
For a comprehensive description of all current lower-limb technologies, devices, and research, see A Complete Guide to Bionic Legs & Feet.