Based on the limited information we have, the Vincent Partial 3 seems to be a highly advanced bionic partial hand. It apparently includes an option for pressure sensors, which makes it unique among bionic partial hands. Unfortunately, our use of the words “seems” and “apparently” here are not accidental. Although Vincent has North American distributors, it is extremely difficult to find English-language material on their products. We have published this limited article simply to put the Vincent Partial 3 on your radar as another bionic partial-hand option.
A Quick Look at the Vincent Partial 3
The following video is short and not very informative. It does, however, give you a quick glimpse of the Vincent Partial 3:
This next video is again a little sparse. It shows what the Vincent Partial 3 can do for a soldier whose hand was severely damaged.
This final video is actually the most informative, but it contains some fairly graphic images, so we wanted to caution you before showing it.
The hand you see in this video is also a Vincent Partial 3. The video doesn’t discuss the device’s specifics, but it does a good job of showing the value of the hand for everyday activities.
The Vincent Partial 3’s Key Features
Grip Patterns & Control System
The Vincent Partial 3 offers numerous grip patterns, but it is impossible to state the specific number of grips because bionic partial hands can consist of anywhere from one to five bionic digits, meaning the number of potential grips may vary. We do know that the Partial’s sister product, the Vincent Evolution 3, offers 14 possible grip configurations.
Similar to other bionic hand devices, grip selection is made by generating trigger signals such as a single open impulse, double open impulse, or a co-contraction (i.e. the simultaneous contraction of all relevant muscles).
Grip control is further enhanced by a pressure sensor in one of the fingers. The sensor detects when the applied force is greater than a predetermined limit and notifies the user via vibration feedback. This feedback helps the user understand, and therefore adjust, the amount of force being applied to an object.
The Vincent Partial 3 has a powered thumb (if a thumb is needed). This means that the thumb opens and closes using electrical power. However, it does not automatically rotate laterally, as is required by certain grips. Instead, the user must manually rotate the thumb into position, typically using his or her other hand.
This lack of an electronically positioned thumb is dictated in large part by the need for a modular design.
As mentioned above, bionic partial hands can consist of anywhere from one to five bionic digits. This means that every digit must be a modular unit independent of other digits.
Electronically rotating thumbs require an additional actuator for lateral rotation and, in general, a stronger motor. This would be quite difficult to accommodate in a design where the thumb must be treated as an independent unit, especially where it may or may not be present. Manufacturers like Vincent therefore use thumbs that require manual positioning.
Lift Capacity & Grip Strength
Unfortunately, we do not have any information on the Vincent Partial 3’s lift capacity or grip strength. We have made inquiries and will update this article when we receive a response.
We currently have no independent third-party feedback on the Vincent Partial’s durability.
We currently have no price information on the Vincent Partial 3. Again, we have made inquiries and will update this article when we receive a response.
Considerations Before Buying the Vincent Partial 3
The biggest single consideration before buying any bionic partial hand is your prosthetist. This is because bionic partial hands must be extensively customized to match the requirements of the natural residual hand. This is true of every prosthesis, of course. It’s just that partial hands tend to have more varied and complex configurations.
We therefore strongly recommend that you deal only with a prosthetist who has proven experience with partial-hand devices.
Unfortunately, if you want a bionic partial hand, your product choices are limited. The Vincent Partial 3 is only one of two bionic options that we know about. The other is Ossur’s i-Digits line of products. It is impossible for us to directly compare these two devices, mainly because there is so little independent third-party information on them.
Based on the available literature, videos, etc., it does appear to us that Ossur has a stronger commitment to the English-speaking portion of the partial-hand market. For example, the errors and broken links on Vincent’s English version of its website fail to impress. But Vincent does have distributors in North America, and since those distributors tend to be prosthetic clinics or chains of clinics, the most important factor again becomes your choice of prosthetist.
Other partial-hand options include hi-tech body-powered devices and ratcheting mechanical hands. We plan to publish an article on those shortly.
For more information on upper limb bionics, see Understanding Bionic Arms & Hands.
If you are shopping for a bionic partial hand, do not miss our article on Myoelectric Control Systems. Getting this part of your bionic system right is probably the single most important element in your long-term satisfaction.
Click here for more information on Vincent Prosthetic Devices.