Bionic limbs

All About Space - - Sci-fi Tech -

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

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