What you are looking at is a prosthetic arm that is being called ‘Luke Arm’ after the famous robotic hand that Luke Skywalker got in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. Biomedical engineering Associate Professor Gregory Clark, University of Utah, was leading a team and developed a new prosthetic arm.
This prosthetic arm created by the team is capable of mimicking the way a human hand feels objects by sending signals to the brain. The arm has been named ‘LUKE Arm’ – a reference that our Star Wars fans can get without any difficulty. For those who cannot, Luke Skywalker was a character who got a prosthetic arm in the ‘The Empire Strikes Back’.
Clark said, ‘We changed the way we are sending that information to the brain so that it matches the human body. And by matching the human body, we were able to see improved benefits. We’re making more biologically realistic signals.’ LUKE Arm was in development for fifteen years and is comprised of metal motors and parts along with a clear silicone ‘skin’ that has been stretched over the hand.
Amputees can use the prosthetic arm for carrying out different delicate tasks that would have been impossible to carry out using a standard prosthetic arm. LUKE Arm makes such feats possible it comes equipped with a system that enables the prosthetic arm for connecting with the nerves of the user. This has been made possible because of an invention from the University of Utah biomedical engineering Emeritus Distinguished Professor Richard A. Normann, known as Utah Slanted Electrode Array. The arm is capable of sensing, touching, and even moving with the thoughts of the user.
The findings have been published in a paper that has been co-authored by Utah biomedical engineering doctoral student Jacob George, former doctoral student David Kluger, Clark, and other colleagues in journal Science Robotics.