The Hannes hand is a step forward for robotic prosthetics.

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

We've seen a lot of advances in robotic hands over the last few years, from a prosthetic with a sense of touch to a hand with a camera on board. But cost and weight are two critical factors when it comes to wider adoption of bionic hands. The new Hannes hand from researchers in Italy addresses both issues.

The developers unveiled Hannes during a press conference in Rome on Thursday. Marco Zambelli, a retiree who has been testing the prosthetic hand, has been able to use it to drive, operate carpentry tools, hold playing cards and grasp cash from an ATM.

Bionic hands

  • Bionic hand with sense of touch can be worn outside the lab
  • This prosthetic hand sees what's in front of it

The AP reports Hannes uses only one motor to control all five fingers, which makes it lighter, cheaper and more adaptable to grasping objects.

It is expected to reach the European market in 2019 with an estimated price around $12,000 (£8,800, AU$15,800). The Hannes team says this is 30 percent less than currently available devices.

Hannes comes from the Rehab Technology lab, a collaboration between the Italian Institute of Technology and Italy's National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work, nonprofit that works with people injured in the workplace.

You can check out a video to see the hand in action. You don't have to speak Italian to get an idea of its versatility and how it works.

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