The history of Touch Bionics began with a program of work conducted at the Princess Margaret Rose Hospital in Edinburgh from 1963, starting with comprehensive research into developing prosthetic solutions for children affected by Thalidomide.
In 1986 David Gow joined the Bioengineering Centre at the hospital, with responsibility for research and development. Two years later, work began in earnest on electronic arms, including shoulders, wrists and hands.
In 1993, Gow developed a partial hand system received international publicity and in 1998, achieved international profile through the fitting of the world's first electrically powered shoulder.
In early 2003, Gow led a spin-out company out from the National Health System via Scottish Health Innovations Ltd (SHIL), and became the first spin-out to receive significant funding. An initial SMART award from Scottish Enterprise got the company started, and it has now received investment funding from existing and new investors, including Archangel Informal Investments, TriCAP, Clydesdale Bank and the Scottish Co-investment Fund.
The company was initially called Touch EMAS, EMAS standing for Edinburgh Modular Arm System. In 2005 it was re-branded Touch Bionics to communicate the dynamism of the company's products and the future focus of its prosthesis technology. In medicine, bionics means the replacement or enhancement of organs or other body parts by mechanical means.
In 2007, Touch Bionics launched the i-LIMB Hand, the first powered prosthetic hand to incorporate articulating fingers. It has five independently powered digits that open and close around objects in a more natural and anatomically correct way than any previous hand prosthesis. The i-LIMB Hand helped amputees across the world to improve their everyday lives with the increased function offered by its articulating digits.
In 2008, Touch Bionics acquired US company, LIVINGSKIN, which provides the lifelike prosthetic coverings for the i-LIMB Hand. In addition to securing its covering supply, the acquisition also provided Touch Bionics with a new product line: aesthetic restoration solutions. These high-definition passive silicone prostheses are created to resemble human skin by mimicking the three dermal layers of natural human skin. To ensure proper colour matching and fit, every prosthesis is custom crafted for each individual. LIVINGSKIN passive prostheses can be created and fitted for any level of finger, hand or arm amputation. LIVINGSKIN is both incredibly realistic and functional, allowing the user to manually position the device to assist in the tasks of everyday living.
In 2009, Touch Bionics launched i-limb digits, an extension of the same articulating digit technology that goes into the i-LIMB Hand to provide a revolutionary new finger solution for partial hand patients. With i-limb digits, people with 1-5 missing fingers have an externally powered prosthetic option that has never been available for this patient population.
In 2010, the launch of the new i-LIMB Pulse represented a significant advance for the i-LIMB product line, with a host of enhancements, including pulsing grip strength, a slimmer, more anatomically correct design, and a robust aluminium structure for improved durability. In addition, the i-LIMB Pulse came with BioSim, a software tool that allows prosthetists and wearers alike to modify the hand via a Bluetooth connection.
In 2011, Touch Bionics unveiled a new look for the company and launched the i-limb ultra, it's most advanced prosthetic hand yet, and unveiled more new products, including the virtu-limb simulation and training tool, and its living image photographic system for accurate color-matching.
Touch Bionics continues to innovate and lead the world in the development of upper limb prosthetic technologies. The company is committed to delivering positive patient outcomes and improving the lives people with upper limb deficiencies across the world...