LifeHand 2 is the natural evolution of the research that led to the 2008 international success of LifeHand. The patient was at the time an italian Brazilian national Pierpaolo Petruzziello, who had undergone the exact same amputation as dennis Aabo sørensen, the subject of this second experimentation (left limb immediately below the elbow). Also in that case the patient’s median and ulnar nerves were implanted with four intraneural electrodes, connected to the biomechatronic prosthesis CyberHand, two generations older than the OpenHand used by dennis. The results of that first experimentation were unveiled before public opinion during a press conference held at the Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma in december 2009 with an impressive international feedback on mass-media.

LifeHand’s objective was to enable the patient to carry out three basic hand movements (fist, claw and thumb to index finger) via direct communication between the prosthesis and the brain, passing directly and exclusively through the nervous system as opposed to unnatural communication. Motor commands despatched from the brain to the periphery may in fact also be collected by myoelectric electrodes fixed onto positions on the body surface corrisponding with specific muscular tissues, such as pectoral or arm muscles. in turn the myoelectric electrodes send back the movement signal to the prosthesis. While the communication is indeed effective, it is nevertheless unnatural. LifeHand’s objective was reached, even if the neural control of the prosthesis was handled without the artificial hand being implanted on the patient’s stump and without any sensory feedback being sent by the prosthesis to the brain.

Five years on from the first experimentation, with LifeHand 2 researchers have been striving to also create a tactile response which, from the sensors of the prosthesis, would reach the patient’s brain. The latter, thanks to sensory information, should succeed in recognising shape and consistency of objects, gauging as a result the amount of strength to be applied with every holding movement. in the case of LifeHand 2, the prosthesis was moreover fitted onto the arm of the amputated patient, thereby creating a more natural physical condition than in 2008, be it not yet definitive.