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Iconic film inspires bionic hand that enables amputees to move prosthetic fingers

December 15, 2017

Luke Skywalker and the Star Wars series may have been written out of ever but the legacy lives on. In this case, its Skywalker's bionic hand.

Bionic arm inspired by the classic film, Star Wars

Scientists in the United States have created an ultrasonic sensor that allows amputees to control each of their prosthetic fingers individually. The result? A Star Wars-like bionic hand with a sensor that provides fine motor hand gestures. This is currently not available in commercial devices.

New arm enables amputee musician to play again after 5 years

A musician Jason Barnes is the first amputee to use this technology. Barnes lost a portion of his right arm in an accident five years ago. He can now play the piano and drums for the first time since his accident.

The new technology enables the arm to detect which fingers an amputee wants to move, even if they don't have fingers. In the case of Barnes, he does not have his hand and most of his forearm. But he has muscles in his residual limb that control his fingers.

New technology has potential to enable activities like bathing & feeding

Barnes was earlier using prosthesis attached to his muscles and controlled by electromyogram (EMG) sensors. But these are not very accurate and can detect a muscle movement, but the signal is too unclear to figure out which finger the person wants to move.

Experts say that if this new arm can work on something as subtle as music, it can be used for many other motor activities like bathing, grooming and feeding.

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