U of U Professor makes Forbes ’30 under 30′ list

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A University of Utah electrical and computer engineering assistant professor has made it to the Forbes “30 under 30” list, the college announced Friday.

Jacob George, director of the Utah NeuroRobotics Lab at the school was named one of Forbes “30 under 30 in the science category for 2022. The U of U professor is also credited with helping to develop the “LUKE Arm” — a motorized prosthetic arm that mimics the way a human hand feels objects by sending the appropriate signals to the brain, according to a press release from the university.

George’s NeuroRobotics Lab is developing biologically-inspired artificial intelligence and brain-machine interfaces to restore and enhance human function.

“I’m humbled to be a part of this amazing group of innovators,” George said. “I’d like to thank all of my mentors and my training from the University of Utah and The University of Texas at Austin. I’m looking forward to an exciting new chapter and continued success at the University of Utah!”

George, along with biomedical engineering associate professor Gregory Clark, are part of the development team for the LUKE Arm, which is named after the robotic hand that Luke Skywalker got in “The Empire Strikes Back.”

The duo is developing a system that allows the prosthetic arm to tap into the wearer’s nerves, which are like biological wires that send signals to the arm to move. The system is based on work by another U of U professor that implanted 100 microelectrodes and wires into the amputee’s nerves in the forearm and connected those nerves to a computer outside of the body.

The design interprets signals from the still-remaining arm nerves, and the computer translates them to digital signals that tell the arm to move.

There has only been one other faculty member from the U’s College of Engineering to be named to Forbes “30 under 30” and that was civil and environmental engineering associate professor Luther Mcdonald for his research in nuclear forensics.

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