Is Luke’s Robotic Hand Possible?



AH, MY HAND! Luke Skywalker lost his hand a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away – but here in our own galaxy, how close are we to creating the advanced neuroprosthetics we see in Star Wars? On this episode of Neuro Transmissions, learn about advances in prosthetic hand design – and see just how close we are to building Luke’s Hand!

Huge thank yous to our friends and colleagues for their contributions to this video. Eric J. Earley can be found at http://www.twitter.com/ericjearley and at http://www.ericjearley.com. Jacob George spoke at SfN about the advances being made at the University of Utah on designing biofeedback-enabled prosthetic hands. His work can be found at http://www.bioen.utah.edu/cni/

PLEASE NOTE: at 5:13, it should be “detected from the remaining nerves”, not “muscles”. Jacob was kind enough to point out our error but the final edit didn’t make it into the video!

Sources:
Historical prosthetics: https://daily.jstor.org/a-brief-history-of-prosthetic-limbs/
Body powered: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22773256
Myoelectric: https://www.ottobock.pl/media/local-media/pdf/clinical-res/final-myoelectric-compared-to-body-powered-prostheses-study-summaries.pdf
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4968852/
Brain-Machine Interfaces: http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1001561
https://www.nature.com/articles/416141a
2002 experiment: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/784743
Utah study: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/11/15/new-robotic-hand-named-after-luke-skywalker-helps-amputee-touch-and-feel-again/?utm_term=.e91ff35718ec

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7 Comments

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  1. Omg spoiler alert in the first 5 seconds for anyone who has been living under a rock for the last 35 years!

    Understanding how a prosthetic can sense and respond to electrical signals that order the hand to open and close makes sense to me. But how do they program in strength? For example, how do they prevent a mechanical hand from just crushing everything it grabs? Or not holding a heavy object with a strong enough grip?

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