Skip to main content

Want to shake hands with the future? Check out this brain-controlled prosthetic

This story is part of our continuing coverage of CES 2020, including tech and gadgets from the showroom floor.

There are some moments you just know that you’re staring the future in the face. The moment at CES that gave us that feeling more than any other? Shaking hands with an astonishingly lifelike artificial intelligence-aided prosthetic hand, controlled via the wearer’s brain waves and muscle signals. It felt solid, natural, and… well, pretty much like any other handshake, really.

“The fingers are articulated independently; the pinky curls a little bit more around the palm of your hand,” said Jeremy Kaplan, Editor-in-Chief at Digital Trends. “Exactly like it would if you were shaking hands with someone else. That really stood out to me.”

The BrainCo Dexus prosthetic arm was selected by our editors as the best product at CES 2020. Check out more of our Top Tech of CES Award winners.
Best of CES 2020 Winner
CES 2020

The hand in question is the work of BrainCo, a cutting edge EEG science and robotics startup that the world is almost certainly going to hear a whole lot more about in the years to come. At Digital Trends, we’ve covered plenty of cool prosthetic limb projects. However, it’s incredibly rare to come across one that works as smoothly and intuitively as BrainCo’s prosthetic hand. Not only can it be intuitively controlled, sensing electrical instruction signals from the brain via the residual limb they travel down, but its movement is impressively dexterous. It could be a game-changer for amputees everywhere.

“We’ve developed the world’s most affordable A.I.-powered prosthetic hand,” Max Newlon, president of BrainCo, told Digital Trends. “[It] gives amputees control of the prosthetic just like you or I would control our hands.”

BrainCo Dexus prosthetic arm
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The dexterity of the hand allows it to be used for a wide range of tasks. At CES, demos included not just shaking hands, but also fine-grain movements such as writing calligraphy. Heck, it can even be used to play the piano. Users are free to program their own series of gestures and capabilities, which can be done in a short space of time.

In terms of pricing, the unit is expected to cost between $10,000 and $15,000 when it launches later this year. This is a fraction of the price of high-end prosthetic hands — which should enable this to find a wider audience base among those who need it the most. FDA approval is pending.

As much as we can’t get enough of smart televisions, self-driving cars, cool robots, and plenty more, it’s hard to get more exciting than amazing technology which promises to make a real, life-changing difference for users. This is one of them. No wonder Digital Trends awarded it our Top Tech “Tech For Change” CES 2020 prize.

Follow our live blog for more CES news and announcements.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
Hitching a ride in Audi’s AI:Me, the autonomous city car of the future



Read more
Roku TV Ready lets you control your entire soundbar from a Roku TV remote
Roku Ultra 2019 remote.

One of the best features of HDMI ARC connection is being able to control basic functions of your soundbar like volume and power with your TV remote. Now, Roku's new Roku TV Ready initiative is taking things a step further, allowing soundbar makers to work with Roku software so you can control everything on your soundbar -- from EQ to sound modes -- all from your Roku TV remote.

The first manufacturer on the list is long-time partner TCL, which has committed to releasing at least one Roku soundbar in 2020. Sound United brand and storied audio company Denon has promised to launch some Roku TV Ready audio products as well, allowing you to control their high-quality sound machines from the Roku TV Remote.

Read more
See visitors and open your front gate with the Ring Access Controller Pro
ring access controller pro

CES 2020 is in full swing, and that means product announcements -- lots and lots of product announcements. Ring has joined the fray with six new products, including its first-ever access control product, the Ring Access Controller Pro. The Access Controller Pro is Ring’s first entry in this area and allows users to not only view who is at their gates but also open the gate remotely. The device can be paired with Key by Amazon to take packages securely inside the gate. The downside to this device is that it isn’t a DIY setup. You’ll have to shell out for professional installation.

The next big announcement from Ring is the Ring Smart LED bulbs. Not only are these Ring’s first-ever smart lights, but they are also weather-resistant and designed for use outdoors. The Ring smart lights are available as both A19 bulbs and PAR38 bulbs. Users can control their smart lights from anywhere via their mobile devices, adjust the brightness, and schedule specific times for the lights to come on.
Continuing the trend of lighting announcements, Ring is also introducing three solar-powered lights. The first is the Ring Solar Floodlight, a motion-activated light perfect for entryways and driveways. It puts out 1,300 lumens and has a 45-foot motion detection range. The next is the Ring Solar Steplight. The Steplight is best used to light up steps, porches, and decks. Users can connect it to the Ring Bridge to gain more specific control over the light.
The final solar-powered light is the Ring Solar Pathlight. This motion-activated light is intended for use along pathways and driveways to create an easy-to-see path. It can also be connected to the Ring Bridge to control the brightness, set schedules, and control motion sensitivity.
If you’re interested in any of the new Ring smart lights, they will be available for purchase on April 1, 2020. The Ring Access Controller is available now for $300, although you can snag it in a bundle with the Stick Up Cam Battery for $390 on Amazon.
Ring wants to expand beyond doorbells to provide whole-home security. Ring's track record of late with privacy and security hasn't been the best, especially in light of the recent hacks and collaborations with local police authorities, which is why the company is also introducing Control Center -- a new dashboard in the Ring app where users can manage their privacy and security settings. This makes it so that these settings are in plain view for users, rather than being hidden in some of the app's menu settings. Ring plans to enhance and improve Control Center over time, so users will be informed into how their data is kept secure and private.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated how the function of the Control Center dashboard. It’s used to control privacy and security settings.

Read more