A computer-controlled, motorised hand and arm support that will allow doctors to control scalpels with great precision has been developed by engineers in the US.

The Active Handrest, developed at the University of Utah, is useful for aiding people in performing precision tasks with their hands such as surgery, which requires precise control of the fingertips, according to the University of Utah.

The handrest allows a person to put their wrist on a support that can slide horizontally in any direction and their elbow rests on a support attached to the device.

The device lets a user move their hand precisely within a workspace of about 10x10in, re-centreing the hand as the arm moves to reach a larger area.

The device provides ergonomic support and increased precision, and allows the user to maintain complete control of the tool, according to the study funded by the National Science Foundation.