This 16-Year-Old Has a Bionic Hand Almost as Good as Luke Skywalker’s | Smart News | Smithsonian

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This 16-Year-Old Has a Bionic Hand Almost as Good as Luke Skywalker’s

While Patric Kane didn't have his hand sliced of by a lightsaber, he's got a bionic replacement that's one step closer to Skywalker's eerily lifelike robot paw

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Image: Touch Bionics

In Star Wars, Episode V, Luke Skywalker gets his hand cut off and replaced with a totally convincing bionic replica. While Patric Kane didn’t have his hand sliced of by a lightsaber, he’s got a bionic replacement that’s one step closer to Skywalker’s eerily lifelike robot paw.

Kane lost his hand when he was a baby, but in 2010, after living most of his life without a prosthetic, he saw a video of a prosthetic made by Touch Bionics and tracked them down to ask for one. That year, he was fitted with an earlier version of what the company calls the i-Limb Ultra, and this year he’s got a new version. Both can be controlled with the iPhone. The Scotsman reports:

The mobile control application, which is compatible with the latest Apple products, including the iPhone, will allow Patrick, 16, to type, hold papers and use a computer mouse via a single screen tap.

He will also be able to cut up his own food and tie his shoelaces for the first time using his new hand, which has already featured in a music video by will.i.am and Britney Spears.

Here’s what the hand looks like in use:

The artificial hand allows users to do things that many prosthetic hands can’t quite do yet, like pick up a piece of paper or grip greasy objects. They’re expensive though, between $38,000 and $124,000 for a new Touch Bionics limb.

For Kane, however, the hand is already a hit with his peers. “The first time I wore it I nearly ran out of batteries with shaking hands with over 125 boys,” he told The Scotsman.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Blind Woman Sees the Light Thanks to Bionic Eye
This Bionic Man, With Working Machine Organs, Is Pretty Much the Creepiest Thing Ever

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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