Next-gen artificial limbs help amputees grab onto a better life

FIGHT BOREDOM, SPREAD HAPPINESS

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Even when Adrian Albrich sits still, you can hear the motors in his hand whirring. Bzzzt. Vrrrt. Zyyt. Little more than a month after doctors outfitted him with a new prosthetic left hand, Albrich still fidgets with it, clenching and unclenching, alternating grips, acclimating to the way it feels and reacts.

With spindly metal fingers, carbon-fiber knuckles and black silicon fingertips, there’s no mistaking Albrich’s prosthetic left hand for its muscle-and-bone counterpart, but the things it can do certainly come close. He can grasp a water bottle and twist off the cap. Pick up a quarter off the table. Hold a tiny finishing nail while he pounds it in with a hammer. He can even view a graph of the electric signals he uses to trigger it … on an iPhone. Try doing that with the real thing.

Though he’s one of the first recipients in the United States…

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