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Science & Technology

Star Wars-style 'bionic hand' developed

By T.K. Randall
February 25, 2015 · Comment icon 8 comments

Artificial hands have been in development for years. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Richard Greenhill and Hugo Elias
Researchers have created a responsive artificial limb that can be controlled directly by the brain.
When Darth Vader cuts off Luke Skywalker's hand during the final scenes of The Empire Strikes Back, the young Jedi later has his limb replaced with a realistic synthetic replica that he can control as if it were his own - the perfect artificial hand.

Now thanks to the work of Prof Oskar Aszmann and his colleagues at the Medical University of Vienna, thousands of amputees could soon have the chance to be fitted with something extremely similar that blurs the line between science fiction and reality.

Several patients have already benefited significantly from being fitted with one of Prof Aszmann's sophisticated artificial hands which pick up and interpret signals from the brain to initiate movement.
Each recipient is first trained over a period of time to move a virtual hand on a computer so that the system can learn how to read and respond to their electrical signals.

By the time they had been fitted with the artificial hand the patients found that they were able to accomplish most everyday tasks with ease just as though they were using a real hand.

The researchers also hope to eventually be able to provide additional functionality to the hand including the ability for the patient to regain the sensations of hot, cold and physical touch.

Source: ITV News | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Junior Chubb 9 years ago
This is fantastic, but I have the nagging feeling I have read this before... along time ago in a thread far far away.
Comment icon #2 Posted by gailforce 9 years ago
oh that gives me a idea i should get one of those portable brain wave things and make a interface to let me run my droids controls just by thought (that's right i have droids, but not like military like a small ball with a rotor inside and gyroscopic controls basically a airhogs ripoff but if i make it thought controlled than it would make it a lot more awesome) the only problem is that i'm a horrible programer
Comment icon #3 Posted by Sundew 9 years ago
Now all you need is someone to invent the Lightsaber!
Comment icon #4 Posted by Purifier 9 years ago
Man becomes machine. Think of the positive versus the negative on many different levels. Look out we come! BTW, you will all be assimilated.
Comment icon #5 Posted by DemonicCupcake 9 years ago
I came here to make a Star Wars joke. On the bright side, you guys cracked some good ones already, on the dark side however...
Comment icon #6 Posted by XenoFish 9 years ago
Pretty sweet. They keep going it won't be long before there's an actual robocop.
Comment icon #7 Posted by QuiteContrary 9 years ago
Even though the article states these devices have a long way to go, this one still sounds amazing imo- considering the alternative for the patient. But costs (the device, surgery, training/therapy, maintenance and repair) must be prohibitive for many/most? and I wonder if this is considered a medical device subject to the new tax and passed along to the patient?
Comment icon #8 Posted by Hobbit Feet 9 years ago
Don't let Howard Wolowitz know about it.

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