“I feel like the Terminator” is the statement coming from the once-limbless Nigel Ackland, 53, who lost his arm in an industrial accident some six years ago. He's one of just seven people in the world taking part in a four-month trial of a new hi-tech bionic arm that is being described as the most human-like limb ever. Seeing it in action, we're unwilling to disagree, it's something really quite special.
Made from carbon fibre, with the hand composed of an aluminium alloy purposely designed to keep weight down whilst maintaining a good strength, the arm works by sensing muscle twitches in the upper arm which the user would otherwise flex to perform a certain movement or grip. Only in this case, the signals trigger the robotic hand to perform one of 8 pre-programmed 'grips' to match common human movements; from a simple point, to the more refined click and double-click pre-sets. The mechanism is purportedly so sensitive it lets Mr Ackland touch-type, prepare food and dress himself for the first time since his accident.
But feeling like the T-101 seemingly feels like the very beginning. How long before we start seeing Sarif Industries' LIMB clinics pop up on our high streets, or find a trip to the doctors surgery means replacing another extremity? So we're still some way off, but at least for now the bebionic3 myoelectric hand has made one man's quality of life all that much better. Inspiring.