‘Luke Skywalker’ Bionic Arm: The Mind- Controlled Prosthetic Limb Finally Gets Released In Markets After A Decade Of Development
The mind-controlled bionic arm inspired from "Star Wars" character Luke Skywalker will finally be released this year after spending 10 years in development. The advanced prosthetic limb is created by Segway inventor Dean Kamen with funding provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.
Medical device company Mobius Bionics LLC will sell the LUKE bionic arm by the end of the year, Tech Times reported. The prosthetic limb is based on the one Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) got after losing his hand in 1980's "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back." The bionic arm's name LUKE, however, also stands for Life Under Kinetic Evolution.
The LUKE bionic arm first entered the development stage in 2006. Since then, it was tested on nearly 100 amputees and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration two years ago.
How LUKE Bionic Arm Functions
"The Hunger Games" actress and congenital amputee Angel Giuffria underwent LUKE clinical trials. According to Giuffria, the LUKE bionic arm is "durable" and has an impressive "grip strength," Popular Science reported.
Perhaps what sets the LUKE bionic arm from other prosthetic limbs out there is its mind-control and intuitive capabilities. The wearer can operate the bionic arm with just their minds through the electrodes placed on the amputated limb.
Electric signals from the wearer's muscles can be picked up by those electrodes and enable the prosthetic limb to move. For instance, when the wearer tenses or flexes their arm, the LUKE bionic arm also adjusts its position and grip.
The LUKE bionic arm provides more movement and flexibility to the wearer because the elbow, shoulder, and wrist function individually. Force sensors on the prosthetic arm's fingers allow the wearer to have different grip patterns and strength. Those sensors provide the wearer's needed dexterity to securely hold fragile objects like eggs and heavier ones such as a gallon of juice.
LUKE Bionic Arm Comes With A Price
The LUKE bionic arm offers a different experience for amputees than what was offered by basic prosthetic limbs, which can only be controlled using buttons, switches, and manual adjustments. With a separate control system, wearers can also control the LUKE prosthetic limb through wireless sensors in the shoe.
The official price of the LUKE bionic arm is yet to be announced. Some industry experts, however, expect the prosthetic limb to go as high as $100,000, according to The Verge. Basic prosthetics that use 3D printing only cost a few hundred dollars.
Around 1.9 million people in the U.S. have lost a limb, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted. Every day, more than 500 Americans suffer from limb loss.