It would appear that the future is finally here. Thirty five years after Luke Skywalker had a bionic hand attached to his arm in Star Wars V, three Austrian men who have had their lower arm amputated have become the first in the world to undergo a new technique called ‘bionic reconstruction.’ The technique involves electronic limbs being attached directly to the patient’s nerves allowing them to control the limbs using their minds.
All three patients spent nine months preparing to use their new prostheses. Prior to amputation, they underwent cognitive training to activate the muscles and then to learn how to use the electronic signals to control their hand. They then practiced using a prosthetic arm attached to their non-functioning arm using a plinth-like device.
According to ScienceDaily.com, three months after amputation and bionic reconstruction, all three men have seen a significant improvement in their quality of living and have quickly become able to complete every day tasks such as opening buttons, pouring water from a jug and cutting food with a knife.
So far the technique has only been performed in Austria, but Professor Azmann, who developed the technology, there are “no technical or surgical limitations” that would prevent other centres from performing it. It’s seriously amazing technology.