Comparison of body-powered voluntary opening and voluntary closing Prehensor for activities of daily life

Kelsey Berning, Sarah Cohick, Reva Johnson, Laura Ann Miller, Jonathon W. Sensinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Persons with an upper-limb amputation who use a body-powered prosthesis typically control the prehensor through contralateral shoulder movement, which is transmitted through a Bowden cable. Increased cable tension either opens or closes the prehensor; when tension is released, some passive element, such as a spring, returns the prehensor to the default state (closed or open). In this study, we used the Southampton Hand Assessment Procedure to examine functional differences between these two types of prehensors in 29 nondisabled subjects (who used a body-powered bypass prosthesis) and 2 persons with unilateral transradial amputations (who used a conventional body-powered device). We also administered a survey to determine whether subjects preferred one prehensor or the other for specific tasks, with a long-term goal of assessing whether a prehensor that could switch between both modes would be advantageous. We found that using the voluntary closing prehensor was 1.3 s faster (p = 0.02) than using the voluntary opening prehensor, across tasks, and that there was consensus among subjects on which types of tasks they preferred to do with each prehensor type. Twenty-five subjects wanted a device that could switch between the two modes in order to perform particular tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-261
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Amputation
  • Artificial limbs
  • Body-powered prostheses
  • Grasp
  • Outcomes assessment
  • Prehensor
  • Prosthesis design
  • Terminal device
  • Voluntary closing
  • Voluntary opening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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