David Gow

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David James Gow CBE (born 1957) is the inventor of the i-Limb prosthetic hand.


He was born in Dumfries in 1957 and was educated at Breconbeds School, Kirtlebridge, Annan Academy and the University of Edinburgh. He studied Mechanical Engineering from 1975 to 1979, graduating with honours in Engineering Science. He then worked for a year at Ferranti (Scotland) a defence contractor in Edinburgh. In January 1981 he began a research post at the University of Edinburgh lasting until 1984 when he transferred to the National Health Service (NHS). Since 1993 to date he has managed the Rehabilitation Technology Services for NHS Lothian and is based at the SMART Centre in Edinburgh.


He began a programme of research activities in the field of upper limb prosthetics. In 1998 he fitted a fellow Scot, Campbell Aird with an electrical arm prosthesis containing the world's first electrical shoulder. In 2002 he founded and spun out the first company from the NHS, Touch EMAS Ltd and became its first CEO. He invented the i-Limb and ProDigits partial hand system (now i-Limb digits). He and his team from the company (which became Touch Bionics in 2005) won the MacRobert Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2008.[1][2]

He is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Gow was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to upper limb prosthetics.[3]


He is married to Janet Brunton. His parents (both deceased) were James, and Effie (née Shankland), and he has an older sister Mary, and a younger brother, Iain.


He is a keen follower of Queen of the South based in Dumfries, Scotland.


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