Luke Skywalker's Prosthetic Arm

Granted, I haven’t felt like a true Star Wars fan since the prequels concluded… but this is an interesting point of inspiration. I usually only hear how Star Trek has influenced real-world science and technology. Shawn McClendon just sent me these three links:

But what do they have to do with Star Wars?

Here are links to three sources concerning a new prosthetic device designed by DEKA and modeled after The mechanical arm worn by Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films. My wife, who is currently studying Occupational Therapy. She found it interesting, and thought that I might as well, not only because I am disabled, but because I have forever been a science fiction fan, and more so a Star Wars fan. She was also the wonderful person who introduced me to your show, and it occurred to me, that I could not possibly be the only SW fan, nor the only disabled fan of your show, and thus I thought to share. Its the first time I’ve ever contacted you, and so I’m not certain of the etiquette of such things, so thank you in advance for your patience, and I do hope you enjoy the information. The first is a rather detailed demonstration video. That I thought was the best bit.

So, what other pieces of tech (and advancements in health science) have been inspired by Sci-Fi?

41 thoughts on “Luke Skywalker's Prosthetic Arm”

  1. Pingback: Tech News Watch
  2. Wow this is just amazing that our technology has came this far. To replace a missing arm that works and is functional in the every day life. I watched the first links video just absolutely amazing. It’s almost like a dream of the future but I guess the future really is now.

  3. I think this a a wonderful way to join people with technology as well as helping amputee’s live normally though I did notice that it will need to be more agile to be perfected.

  4. The amount of real world tech that has been based off of sci-fi is amazingly large, from what I understand. Everything from space travel to cell phones have shown up in sci-fi at one time or another.

  5. The guy who invented Quick Time was inspired by Star Trek The Next Generation. That same guy is also working on inventing a real life “holodeck”.

    I think that movies don’t give us ideas, rather they show us concepts that have been around for a while. For instance one of the older James Bond movies showed a space shuttle in it. Well the space shuttle didn’t come out until 1 year after the movie!

  6. To give a couple answers to Chris’s question, there is a nice piece of Software called Dragon Naturally Speaking, currently distributed by Nuance. The program started years ago as a Voice Dictation app. allowing users to speak instead of typing, but has grown from its original inception. Now aside from voice dictation, one can actually use it to control one’s computer using your voice. You can visit and surf websites, open and close applications and even control the movement of your mouse or cursor, all with the use of a few simple voice commands. I’m -even- told that the latest version supports the use of a blue tooth rig, allowing you to manipulate your machine without being tied to your desk.

    Beyond Dragon, there is an app I’ve mentioned at least once before called Yread. This is a useful, (and free!) program by the folks at Space Jock Software. It is, put simply, a text reader. It allows you to load txt, rtf, and html files into the application and with a click of the play button, have them read aloud to you. It even has the ability to remember its place should you have the need to either switch documents or close the program. It will pick up right where it left off the next time you need to read that document.

    Hope these are useful to you all.


  7. Another great example of life imitating art. If some one dreams something up, no matter how crazy it seems, someone else in time will more than likely make it real

  8. The future is now. Cliche I know, but with the speed we are developing new technology and the amount of technology being advanced now is astronomical. It really is a great time to be living. This specific example will help many to overcome the hardships that some disabilities bring.

  9. thats pretty darn cool. I can just imagine what sorts of inventions will come as a result of this stuff. Not only is it an amazing breakthrough for prosthetics, but the technology could be adapted to so many other things.

  10. That is a very weird topic. But I’m not a fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, or any of those. So, seeing as I don’t know much about those… I don’t know what to say other than… um.. ok.

  11. I have a friend who is REALLY into ALL the Star Wars Movies and Shows (like the animated ones, and also he read all the books). In some ways A lot of “Sci Fi” movies has brought inspiration to being some technology to life, like the cell phone, how computers function, even holograms can be made today (I saw a video on it somewhere, I forgotten where though), it was even interactive-able…. (yeah I know that’s a horrible spelling of the word, but you get the idea.)

  12. I have always wondered does art imitate life or vice versa? I can think of several sci-fi flicks where the tech in the movie has come to pass later. Or maybe we have the technology first and Hollywood just gets wind of it from sources in the government or something… hey what can I say… I love a good conspiracy theory.

  13. One of the reason stuff like this happens is because of the creativity of the directors. How could you not want to try to make practical versions of some of the coolest things ever invented. If only more things from sci-fi were real. I’m sure more things will be developed because of these movies.

  14. Yes future is nearby here and I think the new step will be the second generation of the iphone (I hope).
    But thats the rol of Sci-fi movies makeing dreams of new modern technicks

  15. I coudn’t imagine not having my real arm… to miss that feeling would almost be unbearable! Maybe science would get that far in the future, but for the next few years I just don’t see how that could be done.

  16. Wow that prosthetic arm looks amazing, technology has really come a long way. It’s also fun to know it was inspired by Star wars. I wonder how advanced technology in prosthetics will become in the future.

  17. I can’t wait for implants that help you concentrate better and procrastinate less. I could just swear I have ADD or something. πŸ˜›

    But yeah, a robotic arm would be cool to have, like, as a backup, because it wouldn’t be cool to actually need a robotic arm because your other arm was removed or disabled.

    And in the future, people will have bionic legs, so cars will be a thing of the past as it will not be tiring to walk nor would it be too slow to walk.

  18. I don’t think the development of this kind of stuff is pushed, or invested in enough. First world Countries should pour more $$$ into research, and development, that help the general populous. Instead of making anything that would help, until they can make gargantuan amounts of money, from doing so. If common good replaced greed, we would be hundreds of years in the future, already. Maybe even further.

  19. I totally agree, I mean I wouldn’t expect that Luke Skywalker had a prosthetic arm at some point, I mean that wasn’t even in tthe story was it? I mean I know it was cut off at a certain time but what happened afterwards? They never really tell you. Ok thanks chris.

  20. I am not sure, but weren’t the moving walkways at airports transpired from a movie? For some reason, I thought I read that somewhere. But I do not think most technological advances come from movies. Most of them come from simple people that just have a really great idea and tell people about it.

    It is pretty cool how we are improving technology everyday. This technological phenomenon is accelerating rapidly.

  21. I think this is really cool. Science fiction is becoming science fact. It is like the cell phone which was inspired by the star trek communicator.

  22. Now there is a movie I am a fan of. It would be sooo cool to be able to try out an arm like that (as a third arm, not like cutting off your forearm just to try on a prosthetic one…)

    Now all we need to do is figure out how to imitate the levitation of ground speeders, what they are using to power their rockets, and how to make pod-racers work. πŸ™‚

  23. Wanna hear something crazy?? Well we hear about time travel and all and the theories surrounding it.


    There’s actually a guy at the University of Connecticut who is trying to apply the theories to real life… he has been claiming that he has found a way to make time travel possible! I thought he was a cook until I read about him on the Daily Campus.

    If anyone is seriously interested in hearing more about this… look him up on the UConn website! It’s pretty sweet stuff folks!

    Kind Regards,

  24. Many things have been inspired by scifi movies in the past and im sure more will come in the future. I saw a video of someone on youtube completely made his own detailed back to the Future Delorean with all the bells and whistles lol.There are many cool things that are inspired and people also wonder what will be made next. lets just wait and see

  25. 0.o Wow, I wouldn’t have guessed that that prosthetic was actually THAT advanced. Besides the weight it I would opt for something like THAT as a first option if I ever lost an extremity.

    The guy in the video controls it with his foot?! He haz MaxHaxSK1LLZ!!1!!1!

    If anybody remembers the hypospray from Star Trek, scientists working with the WHO have just cleared a “syringe” with air propelled contents…they promise all you feel is a breeze at the injection sight.

  26. Another great example of life imitating art. If some one dreams something up, no matter how crazy it seems, someone else in time will more than likely make it real.I think this is really cool. Science fiction is becoming science fact. It is like the cell phone which was inspired by the star trek communicator.

  27. Wanna hear something crazy?? There’s a guy at the University of Connecticut who is now applying the idea of time travel and claiming that he has found a way to make it possible! He is actually a highly acclaimed professor at the university and many have been tracking his work.

    I suggest that if you’re interested in that kind of stuff to look him up and see what exactly he’s found out. I thought it was a fluke when I read about it – but then I kept reading and realized that this guy is actually serious! I can’t remember his name, but he’s a colored gentleman with a very ambitious outlook. πŸ™‚

    This stuff is not far off! I gotta say!

    Kind Regards,

  28. I think that Steve Jobs got his ideas from a lot of different Sci-fi shows. He always makes everything new seem like it is so advanced that it came out of a sci-fi movie. Over three-quarters of the time it’s true (iPhone anyone?).

  29. That’s pretty intresting but i think infuture it wouldn’t surprise me if we are actually able to make a arm out of metal that has a biological skin to cover it up and is small enough to make it look like real. technology is advancing very fast so it might even come to us before we even realize it, so i think we should Head’s up then

  30. I sincerely hope I will never have a need for this, however it is nice to know it is available. One day, we’ll be only half human.

  31. Don’t know if this posted or not: I got a server timeout on the first try. So if I’m repeating myself – I’m sorry, y’all can take one of the comments off, or whatever you do.

    That’d have to be some pretty expensive memorabilia, Luke Skywalker’s arm! It’d definitely be an interesting conversation starter, though.

  32. I think that sci-fi introduced travel to the moon, and I heard that an Ironman suit is possible. Other than that, I can’t think of other sci-fi influences on real technology. Although, fantasy has influenced us and we’ve heard an invisibility cloak is possible.

  33. This is the way we all go?Soon we will be able replacing organs or biological elements with electronic smart elements.The future of this is ahead

  34. I just read an article on the New York times about a mechanical arm that a monkey was able to control. Maybe these technologies will be available for animals to use in the future.

  35. A lot of tech that isnt real is being worked on because of Sci Fi. In the field of weaponry, we test out all types of ballistic or energy based weapons. Clones where from Sci Fi, and now we have cloned sheep. Nanotechnology has been heavily researched lately. If it wasnt for Sci-Fi, we wouldnt have the awesome touchscreens that we have today!

  36. One thing I’ve heard recently is that Scientists are actually looking into teleportation. Theoretically it is possible, but the energy and resources required to do this is huge. Dictated by E=MC^2. I think that is something that has definitely been inspired by Sci-Fi. But do you not think that people would miss the journey? I sure would. The traveling is half the trip, for me anyway!

  37. The question, I think, should be “How accurate of a predictor has Sci-fi been with regards to health care?” Many of the advancements attributed to sci-fi are just logical advances when you think about it.

  38. i hope that more things start to be taken by sci-fi movies, because everyone watches them and wishes they could have all the awesome things in the movie, like i just saw iron man (not sci-fi) and i would do anything to get his suit.

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