We get a lot of questions about waterproof bionic limbs. Here are the waterproof devices available both now and in the near-to-medium future.
- Waterproof Upper Limbs Currently on the Market
- Waterproof Upper Limbs in the Near Future
- Waterproof Lower Limbs Currently on the Market
- Waterproof Lower Limbs in the Near Future
Waterproof Upper Limbs Currently on the Market
The TASKA Hand lists its waterproof capabilities as one of its key features. It has an IP67 rating, meaning that it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for as long as 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 Quick Disconnect Wrist option.
The Vincent Evolution is not well known in North America, but it has a surprisingly advanced set of features. It has an IP rating of 68, meaning that it can be submerged in more than one meter of water for long periods.
This is a rather short list, isn’t it? Note, in particular, that it does not contain any complete arms, electric elbows, or electric terminal devices (ETDs).
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of water help on the horizon, either. Of the 15 new bionic upper limbs headed to market in the next few years, we have identified only 1 that will be waterproof. However, there is a new type of bionic hand prototype worth mentioning…
Waterproof Upper Limbs in the Near Future
The Atom Touch will be the world’s most advanced bionic upper limb when it is released in 2022. Its modular design will allow it to be used for both below-the-elbow and above-the-elbow solutions. It will also feature more than 200 sensors enabling four types of sensory feedback.
We were pleasantly surprised to learn that it will also have an IP67 rating, meaning that it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for as long as 30 minutes.
X-Limb (or other Soft Bionic Hands)
The X-Limb is more of a prototype than a pending product. It uses soft robotics, meaning that it can be 3D-printed in a way that can make it entirely waterproof, likely IP68 or even higher.
What makes this option so intriguing is its potential low cost, as the parts that make up the X-Limb prototype cost only $200 US.
Waterproof Lower Limbs Currently on the Market
Freedom Kinnex Foot/Ankle
Proteor USA’s Freedom Kinnex doesn’t get a lot of attention for its waterproof capabilities, but it is an IP67 device, meaning that it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for as long as 30 minutes.
Ottobock Genium X3
This is the current king of waterproof bionic devices. With an IP68 rating, it is fully submersible in up to three meters of water for as long as 60 minutes. It is also corrosion-resistant, meaning it can be used in fresh, salt, and even chlorinated water.
Anyone care for a swim?
The X3’s little sister is no water slouch, either. With an IP67 rating, it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for as long as 30 minutes. That won’t allow you quite the same freedom as the X3, but it’s not quite as expensive, either!
You have to tip your hat to Ottobock, as they seem to have made a real commitment to waterproof microprocessor knees. The C-Leg has the same IP67 rating as the Genium, meaning that it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for as long as 30 minutes. It’s also another step down in price from the Genium, which never hurts!
Freedom Plie Knee
This is the least expensive of all the waterproof bionic knees, coming in at about 1/3 of the cost of the Genium X3. Another IP67 device, it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for as long as 30 minutes.
Waterproof Lower Limbs in the Near Future
Odyssey Ruggedized Ankle Prosthesis
This was a prototype ankle from SpringActive up until late 2019. Then it was bought by Ossur. We’re not sure of its current status, i.e. whether it will emerge as a new bionic ankle in Ossur’s lineup or whether its distinctive features will be absorbed into Ossur’s existing lineup.
What we do know is that whatever product emerges, it will not only be waterproof but also extremely rugged, which is great news for amputees who love outdoor adventures!
For a comprehensive description of all current upper-limb technologies, devices, and research, see our Complete Guide to Bionic Arms & Hands.
For a comprehensive description of all current upper-limb technologies, devices, and research, see our Complete Guide to Bionic Legs & Feet.