Researchers developing functional bionic hands for amputees

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Researchers developing functional bionic hands for amputees

Courtesy of the Cleveland Clinic

(WYTV) – Remember the Empire Strikes Back Star Wars, fans? That’s the one where Luke Skywalker gets a bionic hand. We’re getting there at the Cleveland Clinic.

Researchers are making this fantasy a reality for amputees. They’ve developed a prosthetic arm that’s rewired to communicate with an amputee’s brain. It can feel and function like a real arm.

“We built the system actually using an off-the-shelf prosthetic as our basis. But then we put in high level computing, and we put in touch sensation, and we put in movement sensation,” said Dr. Paul Marasco, bionic arm developer at the Cleveland Clinic. “So, when you look at the limb itself, it looks like any other limb but you can’t tell there’s actually a highly sophisticated computerized communication and feedback system running inside of that.”

It’s the first bionic arm that allows wearers to think, behave and function like everyone else. The wearer can move the arm just by thinking about it and they feel as though their fingers are touching things.

And it’s just the start; Luke Skywalker is waiting.

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