UAB Gruppo FOS Lithuania

Project dates

Full title of the project:
ultra pRECise biONic haNd prosthEsis based on spaCe Transmission

Short name of the project:

Date of the award:

Project duration:
15 months

Lead Company:
UAB Gruppo FOS Lithuania (Lithuania)

Project Partner(s):
E.M.A.C. – Elettronica Medicale e Attrezzature Chimicocliniche (Italy)

Stam S.r.l. (Italy)


“An amputation is the consequence of different clinical and traumatic causes. There are many reasons an amputation may be necessary. Causes for amputation could be peripheral arterial disease, severe injuries, cancerous tumour in the bone or muscle of the limb, serious infection and gangrene, neuroma or frostbite. To replace the lost limb, the person can use an artificial one. Prosthetic limbs are designed to enable amputees to perform, at least partly, some ADL (Activities of Daily Living), like making or taking a meal, personal hygiene, moving things etc.

A bionic hand is a prosthetic device (robotic hand), which automates the movement process of the person (amputee) who lost his hand, arm or part of it and helps him to proceed in his everyday life. Unlike mechanical ones, suggested bionic prosthetics use motors to perform the movements with higher precision without requiring the user to move additionally. The hand is controlled according to signals read by electrodes from the residual muscles of the upper arm. By contracting the muscles, users send to the prosthesis control unit commands which are filtered, interpreted and translated to machine language. Based on specifically received impulses, the mechanical part of the hand performs the required tasks.

Bionic hands are extremely expensive. Therefore, often amputees can afford low-cost devices which hardly can recreate the ADL performed with real limbs. The tradeoff reached by manufacturers to reduce cost in more economical devices mainly concerns the system mechanics. Low-cost prostheses lack in the precision of joint movements, are heavier than advanced systems, are more fragile in case overloads are applied on the transmission.

The objective of the experiment is to overcome these bottlenecks by transferring the space-originated transmission technology at the base of ESA Contract 18340/04/NL/MV to the medical robot field. In particular, the present experiment aims at improving the mechanical transmission of the hand prosthesis developed by Gruppo FOS Lithuania, by integrating the ultra-compact planetary gearbox of the space subsurface penetrometer for soil investigation of the Beagle 2 lander from the Mars Express mission. Thanks to the employment of this mechanical transmission, the prosthesis will dramatically increase mechanical characteristics such as precision (no backlash), lightness, torque density, reliability and robustness, thus improving the quality of amputee patients.

The high cost of the space-originated transmission will be addressed by studying industrial manufacturing processes and improving the design for manufacturing, thereby reducing the cost of the bionic hand. The proposed prototype will give to the user the possibility to control the supplied force applied performing a task, by restoring hand pressure feeling and applying it to different sensing options by inspecting LED scale or electric stimulation from additionally placed electrodes.”