Imagine getting your hand chopped off by your own father and falling to the bottom of a floating building to then have your long-lost sister come and pick you up. That’s a scenario that is very unlikely to happen – but not to say impossible. In Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) receives a bionic hand by this exact means which has all the functions of a normal hand – this is an idea that is now more feasible than the previous scenario.
Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, United States, have been developing a way for amputees to control each of their prosthetic fingers using an ultrasonic sensor. This technology provides incredibly accurate hand movements, and even allowed amputee Jason Barnes to play the piano again after his accident in 2012.
His current prosthesis uses electromyogram
(EMG) sensors attached to his muscles which can be switched into different modes using different buttons on the arm and are controlled by the flexing or contracting of his muscles. This new prosthesis, however, uses machine learning and ultrasound signals to detect finer finger-by-finger movement.
This new technology is fantastic in that it will improve the quality of many people’s lives and bring back old joys, such as Jason
Barnes playing the piano. It's amazing to think that this is technology people saw almost 40 years ago on screen brought to life.
This Star Wars-inspired technology has provided Jason Barnes with the opportunity to play the piano again
Even though using prostheticshad been common for a long time, Star Wars sparked an ideafor bionic prosthetics