Medical first in Ohio: Man can use hand again thanks to ‘electronic fingers’

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WESTLAKE, Ohio -- A medical first takes place here in Northeast Ohio.

The latest technology restores not only function -- but hope -- for people who have lost part of their hand or fingers.

Blain Gilbert, of Grand Rapids, Mich., has waited a long time to be able to move all of his fingers on his right hand again. The landscaper lost three fingers in a work accident two years ago.

On Friday, Gilbert, 28, became the first person in Ohio to receive the "I-limb digits."

The device is the latest in electric finger technology.

“I'm excited. I'm ecstatic just to be able to do some of the simple things that I hadn't been able to do," Gilbert said.

Brian Waryck, a prosthetist at Advanced Arm Dynamics in Westlake custom fitted Blain with the I-limb electric fingers.

“We are able to actually capture signals from the muscle using very small surface electrodes. The electrodes send the signal to the computer, the on-board computer and battery is what powers the actual motors in the fingers," said Waryck.

Blain, a husband and father of two young children, was looking for a device that would give him greater function of his fingers.

"I looked all over the United States for something that had technology and that was just very functional," Gilbert said.

Blain will receive occupational therapy designed specifically for his needs. The I-Limb device stays charged for up to eight hours.

For more information on the I-Limb, click here.

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