U of U researchers create prosthetic arm that can feel

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With the LUKE prosthetic, amputees get the major benefit of sensory feedback.

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Researchers out of the Clinical Neurosciences Center at the University of Utah have developed a technology that allows amputees to feel through a prosthetic arm, as well as manipulate the arm using their mind. 

The LUKE arm, named for iconic fictional amputee Luke Skywalker, isn’t science fiction anymore. Jacob George is a National Science Foundations Graduate Fellow and the lead author on the latest research.

He explained, “What we’re doing is trying to communicate with the body in the body’s natural language and by doing that we saw benefits with sensory feedback.”

Using implants surgically placed in an amputee’s bicep and forearm, the researchers are attempting to use the body’s natural neural pathways to allow the amputee to communicate with the biometric arm; and they’ve been successful. 

Gregory Clark is the associate professor and project lead. He said that while the technology isn’t perfect, “The sense of touch and movement that we’re able to recreate does seem very real though not quite as rich as the biological realities at this point.”

So far, the team has tested the arm in the lab with a few participants. now they are waiting for FDA approval on another round of clinical trials, this time where the amputee can wear their LUKE arm home. 

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