Not ‘armless at all.

One of the major nightmares of the war on terror is the flood of soldiers coming home without limbs after IED attacks. The field of exoprostethics is going to extraordinary lengths to address that problem, and at the same time snag some of that sweet, sweet military green.

OK, that sounds a bit snarky. I’m trying to disguise my astonishment at the leaps and bounds being made in the development of artificial limbs under a sheen of cynicism. Really, I’m astonished, and amazed. Check out this video interview with Deka Research’s Dean Kamen, demonstrating his bionic arm. In a nicely geeky twist, he’s called it the Luke.

There are some wonderfully poignant moments in the film too, as you see film of vets who have been unable to feed themselves for years doing just that. One throwaway comment did it for me, when Dean tells the story of a wife of one of the vets seeing her husband using a spoon for the first time in thirteen years –

“…either that arm’s coming back with us, or you’re keeping Chuck.”

Of course, all this innovation can go too far, as Warren Ellis observes.

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Rob

Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

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