The final scene of "The Empire Strikes Back," where Luke gets outfitted with a brand new robot hand that can feel and touch like a real one, has been a dream of many amputees for decades. Now that dream could be a reality.
A new mind-controlled prosthesis could give feeling back to folks with missing limbs. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced in September that it had developed a prosthetic arm (not the one in the image above) controlled by the human brain that allows the person wearing it to sense things. That's amazing!
The robotic arm is connected to the wearer's motor cortex in the brain to control its movement, and to the sensory cortex to give them the sensation of feeling. The first person who tested it was blindfolded, and could "feel" when the prosthetic arm was lightly touched. The project's program manager, Justin Sanchez, talked about the arm when its success was announced. "Prosthetic limbs that can be controlled by thoughts are showing great promise," Sanchez said.
You can see the arm at work in DARPA's video below. It features an Army volunteer amputee using the arm on a rock climbing wall. Let us know what you think about this incredible technological advance in the comments below.