Jacob Georg, Assistant Professor

In the United States alone, 1.6 million individuals, nearly one in every 200 people, suffer from limb loss. The challenges that accompany such a loss impact every part of daily life and have emotional and psychological consequences. Due to the inadequate treatment options currently available, about half of all amputees end up abandoning their prostheses. 

Electrical and computer engineering assistant professor Jacob George recently gave a TED-style talk at the annual University of Utah Health Donors event, which highlights the meaningful impact of research donations. During his presentation, George discussed the advanced bionic arm he developed with fellow researchers at the U in 2019 and the exciting developments made since. The “LUKE Arm,” named after the robotic hand given to Luke Skywalker in the Empire Strikes Back, allows users to feel objects by transmitting the appropriate signals to the brain and can be controlled by thought. 

George and his team are now demonstrating improvements, including better dexterity in users, its long-term viability, and its ability to reduce chronic pain. Most importantly, they have seen the embodiment of the prosthetic, meaning its users no longer see it as just a tool but as a part of them. The advancements made by George’s lab demonstrate the importance of this technology and the potential for a unified solution to a variety of different ailments associated with limb loss. Watch George’s talk below to learn more about this exciting work.