Luke Skywalker's Bionic Hand Takes Another Step Closer to Reality

By Sam Gibbs on at

We've seen robotic hands controlled by brainwaves before, but not one that lets you actually sense what it's gripping too. For the first time ever, surgeons are going to attempt to hook a bionic hand directly into a man's nervous system so he can actually feel the hand's skin sensors. Luke Skywalker eat your heart out.

The hand will be hooked directly into the patient's median and ulnar nerves in his arm, allowing him to both control the hand via thought like he would a real hand, and feel the skin sensors on the hand too. It will mark the first time a prosthetic appendage has provided real-time sensory feedback on things like grip strength, or pain, which would be a massive step forward for cyborg limbs.

The prototype hand will be hooked up to the amputee's arm for a month, where the ability to use and adapt to the hand will be monitored before putting the thing into production. If it works as well as the scientists behind it think it should, it could mean that a robotic hand could soon be a viable real-life hand-like replacement, or hell, an enhancement. Who doesn't want a robotic hand like Skywalker's? [Independent]