Amend has no intentions of competing directly with bionic hand makers. But a cheap (by medical equipment standards), capable gripper could appeal to a broad customer base, and Empire Robotics appears to see prosthetics as the next market to pursue, after the industrial and manufacturing sector. Though it’s too early to talk device costs or development timetable, Amend did mention a possible feature for mechanics, contractors, or similar users, that puts the idea in perspective. “You could tether to a high-powered air supply when you get to work,” says Amend, taking the burden off of an internal battery or other mobile power source. That visual, of someone walking onto a job site and clipping into the nearest air compressor to power his or her morphing prosthetic stump through the day, might seem like a letdown, compared to the promise of neuro-controlled bionics. But the bird in the jammed manipulator is worth two clutched in an impossibly expensive cybernetic fist.