Video: Big hand for bionic breakthrough that transformed my life

FOR NICKY Ashwell, it is the everyday tasks that many take for granted which are now making the biggest differences to her 

Nicky Ashwell, the UK's first patient to receive a lifelike bionic hand

The 29-year-old has now been fitted with what has been dubbed as the world’s most life-like bionic hand, giving her the chance to perform the most simple of things such as being able to carry her purse at the same time as holding her boyfriend’s hand.

Ms Ashwell, who was born without a right hand, had previously used a cosmetic prosthetic that she was not able to move.

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Now she has been fitted with an anatomically accurate new hand developed by prosthetic experts Steeper.

Nicky Ashwell, the UK's first patient to receive a lifelike bionic hand

It is described by the company as a bionic breakthrough that uses Formula 1 technology to deliver “unrivalled level of precision and natural movements”.

The hand, which weighs about the same as a bar of chocolate, is built around an accurate skeletal structure with miniaturised components designed to provide the most true-to-life movements.

Ms Ashwell is now getting used to being able to carry out everyday activities, such as using cutlery and opening her purse, that most people take for granted.

The product manager at an online fashion service said: “When I first tried the bebionic small hand it was an exciting and strange feeling – it immediately opened up so many more possibilities for me.

“I realised that I had been making life challenging for myself when I didn’t need to.

“The movements now come easily and look natural – I keep finding myself being surprised by the little things, like being able to carry my purse while holding my boyfriend’s hand.”

She was fitted with the hand, which took seven years to develop, at the private London Prosthetics Centre. Unlike conventional prosthetic hands, which may use a hook, the bebionic hand uses sensors triggered by the user’s muscle movements.

In 2012, grandfather Mark Cahill, 53, from Halifax, underwent the UK’s first hand transplant during an eight-hour operation at Leeds General Infirmary.