Hugh Gill (b. 1958), engineer who developed the multi-articulating bionic hand
Hugh's most prominent contribution has been in developing the partial and full hand multi articulating prosthetics products for Touch Bionics of Livingston. This has revolutionised the capability of those who lose a hand. Hugh joined Touch Bionics in 2007 and has significantly advanced the company and product originally conceived by founder David Gow. During this time Hugh has achieved 16 patents. The engineering behind this is now at the front end of high technology - encompassing robotics, wireless communication, i-phone apps, advanced myoelectric sensors that pick up microvolt signals from muscles beneath the skin, and the covering, or cosmesis, for durability, appearance and elasticity, a major materials advance. Over 4000 patients have been fitted with i-limb hands and over 500 partial hand patients. Hugh has led the technological developments creating a major impact on many patients throughout the world.
Earlier in his career, Hugh had sole responsibility for structural integrity of the channel tunnel machine to withstand full overburden mass of 100ft of water and 100ft of soil. Hugh then joined Burroughs and later Unisys. During this time Hugh designed a high speed document optical and magnetic reader and achieved 2 successful patents. At Polaroid, Hugh developed a business called Wideblue which spun out in 2006 with Hugh being the Director of Design and Operations. Whist working at Polaroid, Hugh also co-founded Dream Maker Ltd to exploit a modular drumstick with patented technology, winning the John Logie Baird Award for innovation.
|Born in Glasgow, Scotland||1958|
|16||Apprentice Draughstman, Hugh Smith||1974|
|22||Development Engineer, Bonar Hugh Smith||1980|
|25||Graduated BSc (honours), Mechanical Engineering, Strathclyde University||1983|
|25||Mechanical Engineer, Burroughs Machines||1983|
|27||Leading Engineer, James Howden Ltd||1985|
|29||Engineering Manager, Unisys||1987|
|34||Engineering Manager, Teknek Electronics||1992|
|39||Design/ Program Manager, Polaroid||1997|
|41||Elite excellence award for new film product, Polaroid||1999|
|42||Director of Codadrumstick/ Dream Maker Ltd||2000|
|43||Winner of John Logie Baird award for innovation for the modular drumstick||2001|
|44||Winner of Gold Excellent award, Polaroid for global supply chain||2002|
|47||Creator and Director of Wideblue Ltd||2005|
|49||Touch Bionics, Director of Technology and Operations||2007|
|50||Touch Bionics wins RAEng MacRobert Award||2008|
|53||Touch Bionics, Chief Technical Officer||2011|
|55||Twelfth patent granted since 1990||2013|
|55||Inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame||2013|
|55||Honorary Fellow of IESIS||2013|
|59||Vice President of R&D Upper Extremity Prosthetics, Touch Bionics||2017|
|59||Managing Director, Touch Bionics||2017|
|59||Saltire Society Fletcher of Saltoun Award for Outstanding Contribution to Science||2017|
|61||Honorary Member of American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists||2019|
The i-limb hand created a new era in upper limb prosthetics with Touch Bionics being the world leader in multi-articulating hands. Approximately 4500 patients have been fitted with i-limbs or i-limb digits, The most recent hand i-limb revolution provides a powered rotating thumb advancing the ease of patient use. In Hugh's words "As an engineer I thrive on solving problems. However people with negative attitudes create obstacles and that encourages me to overcome problems. I enjoy leading and I have always had the courage to overcome all obstacles placed in front of me and the pleasure of achieving the solution and learning during the journey".
Hugh's eagerness to listen to patients and transform the technological advances in prosthetics is an inspiration to others. "One needs the courage to lead significant changes in prosthetics and to overcome barriers to success. The journey in Touch Bionics has been exhilarating and the future innovations will help to transform the lives of more patients. There are so many emotional stories I have to share, from an 8 year old girl to an 85 year old gentleman in New York. A patient came over from Africa, lost his hand five years ago, never had a prosthesis. He walked away three days later - and he shook my hand."
Hugh Gill, Touch Bionic's director of technology and operations. The Engineer, 26 Jan 2009.
Medical Miracles Aren't Cheap. Forbes Magazine. 6th March 2013.
Three pieces of smart, compassionate science. The Patriot Ledger. 10 Jun 2013.
Bionic prosthesis hands: A review of present technology and future aspirations. Clement, Bugler and Oliver.
Teenager who lost limbs fitted with bionic hand Scotsman.
The Surgeon, Dec 2011. Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.
Royal Academy of engineering "Touch Bionics: enabling a new age in human prosthetic"
UK trade and investment Exports
Download: Hugh Gill acceptance speech Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame, James Watt Dinner, 4 October 2013
TO CITE THIS PAGE: MLA style: "Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame". engineeringhalloffame.org. Date of viewing. http://www.engineeringhalloffame.org/profile-gill.html