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This Advanced Bionic Arm Really, Really Looks Like It’s From The Terminator Movies
November 8, 2012
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First things first: this arm is designed to do good, not evil. And SkyNet's not real.

So if you're worried this guy is going to show up, don't worry. He's been too busy working on his memoirs and hanging out in the red chair.


Okay, with that out of the way, how cool is this? Nigel Ackland lost his lower right arm in an accident about five years ago. Now, he's got this carbon-fibre prosthetic that he can control with the muscles in his upper arm.

It's called the BeBionic3 myolectric hand, and it's made by a British company called RSLSteeper.

Unlike most prosthetic arms, the BeBionic3 is capable of both a strong grip - it allows Ackland to hold a beer for instance - and a gentle touch, like when he picks up eggs to make his breakfast.


The key is the individual motors in each finger. This allows the fingers to articulate separately and adjust to different tasks.

When Ackland tenses the muscle on the outside of his arm, the hand opens. When he tenses the inner muscle, it closes. And tensing both muscles together switches between controlling the fingers on the hand and turning the wrist.

The system takes some getting used to but Ackland's been using his for a few months, and judging by the video above, he's become pretty good at it.

As for the prosthetic's robotic appearance, the company also offers a silicon cosmetic skin which you can slip over the arm. But it looks like Ackland is pretty comfortable going "the full robot".


Still, he says the technology makes him feel more human, not less.

"Having a BeBionic hand is like being human again. Psychologically I wouldn't be without it," he says on the RSLSteeper site. "I can hold the phone, shake hands, and wash my left hand normally, which I haven't been able to do for five years!"

So far, between 30 and 50 people have been outfitted with the device for testing.

According to Richard Shapcott, general manager of SteeperUSA, the arm will be expensive once it hits the market (about $19,200), but he told Wired that it will be covered by most insurance and Medicare in the U.S. and the national healthcare in the U.K.

No word on whether Canada's health care system will cover the BeBionic 3.


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