Have you heard the recent news about the Luke Skywalker robotic arm? If you didn’t, sit back and read the following, as the medical world is about to write history right in front of our eyes! If you are a Grey’s Anatomy fan, you have even more reasons to keep yourself updated to the news, as everything you saw in the show just received FDA clearance, giving thus hope to amputee patients all over the world. Of course, we are talking about brain surgeon Derek Shepherd and orthopedic surgeon Callie Torres and their mind – controlled prosthetic limbs project.
The “Luke Skywalker” robotic prosthetic arm is, according to researchers,
[quote]is an upper-limb prosthetic designed to restore near-natural control to amputees. The high-tech limb can handle objects as delicate as a grape or as hefty as a power tool.[/quote]
The super – arm was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and developed by the company DEKA Integrated Solutions in Manchester, New Hampshire. The specialists say that the arm
[quote]uses wireless signals from sensors in the user’s feet and other inputs to control the arm’s multiple joints. The arm is about the same size and weight as a natural limb, and is battery-powered. The user can select among six different grips.[/quote]
The ability to move a prosthetic limb with one’s mind is not new, however. Back in 2012, experts from LiveScience announced that a quadriplegic woman was able to use a robotic arm in order to give high fives and eat a piece of chocolate. According to Andrew Schwartz at the University of Pittsburgh quoted by LiveScience
[quote]This is a spectacular leap toward greater function and independence for people who are unable to move their own arms. This technology, which interprets brain signals to guide a robot arm, has enormous potential that we are continuing to explore.[/quote]
We are two years in the future from that moment and we finally witness medical technology brought to another level and finally becoming real. Although such projects need a lot of time to actually become accessible to humans (considering that the majority is conducted on animals), the greatest news about this medical breakthrough is that the robotic prosthetic arm received FDA approval. And because we all know the FDA doesn’t just approve medical innovations without taking a good look at them, the Luke Skywalker arm had to prove itself flawless in order to receive the FDA’s green light. But now, since it passed all tests, a new hope is given to all people missing limbs or being paralyzed as a consequence to disease, birth defects or terrible accidents.