DIY Bionic Hand from “Hotties vs. Nerds” Wipeout

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Notice the outstretched, right bionic hand (courtesy of ABC.com)

I hope you didn’t see my first-to-worst performance on ABC’s Wipeout “Hotties vs. Nerds” edition. Instead, I hope you focused on my radical bionic hand. The idea came from an interview I did with MIT prosthetics researcher Hugh Herr, who lost his legs in a climbing accident and now works with all sorts of totally sweet augmentative technologies, including exoskeletons and replacement limbs.

Basically, in addition to building exoskeletons that allow people to carry 100-pound loads for many miles and jump three stories, Herr is working on a spider suit that uses latex connections at the joints of a jacket to increase your pull-up power. You push against these latex webs as you extend your arms and fingers above your head, and then when you pull down, these webs pull with you. It’s awesome. Or, it will be once it works.

I wanted a sneak peak and so designed a hand-worn DIY contraption to increase my grip strength — which I used for kitsch value and maybe a slightly increased grip in my massive FAIL on the aforementioned episode of Wipeout. Below is a closer look. And the funny thing is, it actually worked. I tried it out at a local climbing wall and it did, in fact, keep me noticeably more connected to the holds. I imagine it would also be useful when holding a light saber or a glass of beer. I’ll try the latter tonight when drowning my Wipeout sorrows.

If you try it, please let me know how it works! Twitter: @garthsundem

Rubber bands, gorilla-taped from knuckles to fingernails. The longer the tape, the better.

Rubber bands augment grip power — bionicalicious!

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