Worker who lost three fingers in industrial accident has them replaced with two bionic digits and a toeElectrodes within the bionic fingers read signals given by the muscles and can move independently
A worker who lost three fingers in an horrific industrial accident has had them replaced with two bionic digits – and his big toe.
Packager Michal Takac, 32, severed his fingers when they got stuck between two feed rollers in a machine at a printing plant.
Doctors were unable to save the mangled digits, which left him unable to work.
But he has been given a new lease of life with two new prosthetic i-limb fingers, which use cutting-edge technology and force-sensing resistors to grip and hold objects.
Michael Takac is thrilled with his two new prosthetic fingers. He had his index finger replaced with his toe in 2007
Michal’s big toe was also grafted onto his hand to replace the third missing finger.
He said: “I was truly overwhelmed the first time I heard about the i-limb digits and to now have two new bionic fingers that actually respond and move is amazing.
“I really like gadgets and appreciated the possibility of having technology like this to help me out.
“It took me several months to get used to it – but now I consider it as part of me. It is me now and I feel more complete with it.
“My advice to anyone who finds themselves faced with the same tragic situation that I have experienced is to never give up.
“I have learnt that there are so many people and organisations out there to support you, that you will be able to find a solution.”
The devastating accident happened when Michal was working in the Smurfit Kappa printing plant in Yate, near Bristol, in July 2007.
A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive discovered that guarding on the machine was inadequate – causing his hand to be drawn into the rollers.
The company, which manufactures packaging, was fined 2,500 and ordered to pay 2,359 in costs at North Avon Magistrates’ Court in Yate in 2008.
Michal had to have his big toe grafted onto his third finger and found he was unable to do simple tasks – like picking up a glass of water.
He then took his own legal action against the company and agreed an undisclosed settlement in October this year – enabling him to get the two prosthetic fingers.
The i-limb digits, from Touch Bionics, are controlled using electrical, force-sensing resistors.
Electrodes within the bionic fingers read signals given by the muscles in the wearer’s remaining limb, enabling the digits to move independently.
The user is then able to move the fingers with accuracy and sensitivity – mimicking the function of natural digits.
Lisa Gunner, from Thompsons Solicitors, who helped secure Michal’s payout, added: “As a result of the compensation Michal will continue to derive great benefit from the prosthetics that would not otherwise have been available to him.
“The provision of the prosthesis has been a real turning point in Michal’s life.”
Smurfit Kappa declined to comment.
Video: Another Touch Bionics patient demonstrates his i-Limb Hand