The Department of Veterans Affairs is testing a fancy new prosthetic arm developed in conjunction with DARPA, the folks that brought us the Internet, and Deka Research, founded by Dean Kamen, creator of the Segway. Unlike a traditional rigid plastic arm, or God forbid a metal hook, the Luke Arm — a reference to Luke Skywalker’s artificial hand from Empire Strikes Back — allows the wearer to grasp small objects and “perform movements while reaching over their head, a previously impossible maneuver for people with a prosthetic arm.”
A unique feature of the advanced arm is its control system, which works almost like a foot-operated joystick. An array of sensors embedded in a shoe allows users to maneuver the arm by putting pressure on different parts of the foot. The current version uses wires to relay the signals to the arm, but future versions will be wireless.
I don’t know about you, but I read that and immediately thought of Robotech Veritech fighters!