A Bionic Arm Inspired by… Star Wars?

DEKA bionic arm

It’s been a while since we’ve reported on any cool technology, and this technology we’re about to tell you about is positively mind-blowing, to say the least.

Is it manufacturing related? No, not exactly. Although it was obviously manufactured by somebody, what we’re most impressed with is the tech itself. We think it ought to serve as a pretty big source of inspiration for anyone even remotely interested in science, technology, engineering, and math.

The tech? Get ready for it–it’s a bionic arm! But it’s not just any bionic arm. As you probably know, prosthetic arms have been around for some time–and there have even been some fairly advanced prosthetics on the market recently that allow users to pick things up and do relatively normal everyday tasks. This, however, is on a whole different level.

Inspired by Star Wars (yes, you read that correctly), Dean Kamen’s new arm, nicknamed “Luke” after Luke Skywalker, the “Star Wars” hero who was fitted for a prosthetic after losing his right hand in a light-saber duel with Darth Vader, is “the first prosthetic arm that can perform multiple, simultaneous movements via electromyogram electrodes, which detect electrical signals from the contraction of muscles close to where the prosthesis is attached.”

From picking up eggs–a task that requires a light touch–to tying shoes (how cool is that?), this prosthetic arm from the inventor of the Segway really is incredible. It was funded by DARPA–the research branch of the Pentagon–and truly has the potential to change the lives of millions. (The story of its creation and manufacture is just as interesting as the arm itself, too–we recommend giving that a read.)

Whether you have a desire go into manufacturing or not, there’s just something about technology like this that is absolutely inspiring. Just think: as an engineer, machinist, coder, or CNC operator, this is the type of technology that we’ll be designing and manufacturing in the future. Cool, isn’t it?

Although didn’t think we’d see technology like this for some time, we have to say, we’re absolutely amazed to see this sort of tech being prepped for the market today. And as someone pursuing an education in STEM and yes, a career in manufacturing, this is only the beginning. We know we can’t wait to see what’s next.

Photo credit: DEKA R&D