Unrecognized artificial hands and fingers by Hiraoka


Always keep myself open to new ideas


Always keep myself open to new ideas


Will the movable prostheses and the cosmetic gloves be separated items even in future? Hironori Hiraoka forecasts the possibilities. “Though I’m interested in the development of myoelectric upper limb prosthesis, I’m a member of the prosthetist group that have been developing a prosthetic hand whose fingers move with muscle pressure. I am working with my company and we aim to offer cheaper products than the myoelectric upper limb prosthesis currently purchased.” The evolution of movable prostheses is still under development, however, the ideal technology must be realized in a rush when it happens.


The artificial hand can’t be distinguished from the real hand.


As mobile phones appeared and at the same time the fixed-line telephones were buried in the past, as well as smartphones arrived in our life when mobile phones became legacy products. The evolution of technology emerges in front of us suddenly one day at a speed going beyond our prediction. An artificial hand that can freely move five fingers with one’s own intention may appear soon in front of us in near future after having realized construction of skeleton, muscles, and nerve systems for hand as well as feedback of sense of touch. It may not take long to be able to manufacture the device at lower cost by successfully reducing current expensive costs.


When the dream comes true, the cosmetic glove made by Hiraoka could be combined with the movable prosthetic hand when finally requests of his clients can be satisfied. To achieve this goal, it must be necessary to focus on the development of cosmetic gloves covering over movable prosthetics.


A finished artificial ear


A craftsman who have obtained a top skill as master does never indulge himself only in his own skills. As the time changes Hironori knows that he needs to adopt his skills to such changes and keen on collecting information. “I go to the University of Human Arts and Sciences in Iwatsuki-ku, Saitama City every week, and give lectures to young students who are aiming to become prosthetist and orthotist.” Teaching leads to learning.
Most people probably have such experience as giving a lecture to others made them understand the subject more deeply. This custom can help collecting the information what kind of prosthetic limbs the next generations are in mind. Hironori adds, “I am still visiting the Prosthetics and Orthotics Manufacturing Facility in Toda City, Saitama Prefecture as well, where they specialize in making orthosis for children.” He doesn’t spend his days only in making cosmetic gloves and artificial hands or fingers.


Every fingers are fully custom-made.


Hironori Hiraoka talked about camouflage techniques how to make an artificial body look like a real human body. “I often craft them as finely as possible to show the body parts looked like exactly real, but sometimes I apply slightly lighter color than the real color my client has for his/her skin.” This technique is particularly effective for artificial ears. “By doing this, you can let people turn their gaze from the artificial ear, hand or finger. The white dogs are rarely spotted in the city, but black dogs are. The black and red colors are naturally noticeable in human eyes. ”


This means, when finishing the missing side of the human body parts in lighter color, people tend to look at the remaining side of a real human body parts symmetrically present. An artificial ear or hand can be less noticed than the remaining side due to lighter color coordination. “Sometimes it is not good enough to produce an elaborated work. Unrecognizable artificial hands or ears are necessary. On the other hand, artificial fingers are different, for which I try to reproduce the client’s skin color to the ultimate level. Those artificial fingers may stand out easily if colors don’t meet.”


Based on five color paints, hundreds of colors are produced.


Only the person wearing the artificial hand, finger, and the other body parts made by Hiraoka knows its delicate craftsmanship with deep emotion. And his craftmanship holding delicacy and subtlety would never be known by other people who aren’t wear his gloves.



Written by Akitoshi Urayama
Photo by Soudou Kawaguchi
Editing kenichi Yoshino



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