Luke Skywalker's Bionic Hand Is Closer than You Think

By Luke Y. Thompson in Tech
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 8:00 am

skywalkerhand.jpg

Bionic lungs and bladders were the first step. Later this year, an unnamed Italian man will be getting a robotic, thought-controlled hand that can actually feel:

Dr Micera said that the hand will be attached directly to the patient's nervous system via electrodes clipped onto two of the arm's main nerves, the median and the ulnar nerves.

This should allow the man to control the hand by his thoughts, as well as receiving sensory signals to his brain from the hand's sensors. It will effectively provide a fast, bidirectional flow of information between the man's nervous system and the prosthetic hand...

The plan is for the patient to wear the bionic hand for a month to see how he adapts to the artificial limb. If all goes well, a full working model will be ready for testing within two years, Dr Micera said.

Earlier versions of the hand had only two sensors, while this version has them in the fingertips, palm and wrist. If he needs to wield a lightsaber again, the man may well be able to do it Skywalker style.

But what if he's less Luke Skywalker in his interests, and more...uh-huh-huh...Beavis? Because Beavis likes to touch things. You'd want to be careful about an error in the grip circuits, though.

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