back to article At last, a bionic arm that passes the Beer, Egg and Looks Cool tests

A British man who lost his right forearm in an industrial blending accident has been demonstrating a bionic replacement that's sensitive enough to grasp and pick up eggs without cracking them and strong enough to hold his beer. RSLSteeper, the British firm behind the BeBionic3 arm and hand, claim it’s the most advanced …

COMMENTS

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  1. Roger Kynaston Bronze badge
    Coat

    Ah But

    When will it turn on him and break his neck?

    Sorry, had to be done!

    1. I think so I am?
      Thumb Up

      Re: Ah But

      It has a neural inhibitor, so were safe

  2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge
    Pint

    That is truly outstanding

    Hats off to RSLSteeper, and Nigel looks like a top bloke as well. Losing your arm is tough enough as it is, he's come through it and kept his sense of humour as well. A well earned beer indeed.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby
      Pint

      Re: That is truly outstanding

      While its cool, he has shit taste in beer.

      Sorry, it had to be said.

    2. Marvin the Martian
      Thumb Up

      Re: That is truly outstanding

      Seeing him in the kitchen, I'm wondering about cleaning.

      Specifically, ElReg's recent article about keyboards in the dishwasher dying...

  3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Only one thing is missing

    A lightsaber.

  4. David Neil
    Gimp

    But

    Would he risk scratching his nuts with it?

    1. Crisp

      We've got a robot hand grasping a mans penis here!

      Could you be a little more discreet?

      I'm sorry, but we don't have a code word for a robot hand grasping a mans penis.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: We've got a robot hand grasping a mans penis here!

        Code word...or safe word?

        1. dssf

          Re: We've got a robot hand grasping a mans penis here!

          Or, how long before he goes from TERMinator to SPERMInator? Any serious MALEaddiction gone WRONG could give rise to much MALediction gone LONG.... No, I am not seer a no debur girac....

    2. Graham Marsden
      Happy

      I'm just remembering...

      ... a certain incident involving Howard Wolowitz...

    3. Black Plague

      Re: But

      I'm reminded of the Family Guy Star Wars spoof:

      "Practice on a hot dog first..."

      In all seriousness, this looks awesome and is great news for amputees. If I ever get my arm blown off, you better believe I'll plop down the cash for a frickin' robot hand!

  5. bigphil9009
    Thumb Up

    Incredible

    The most incredible thing about this, is that during the segments when he is cracking the eggs and drinking a beer, he just looks like a bloke cracking an egg and drinking a beer - the prosthesis is so well designed and (more importantly) operated that it disappears into the background and we can just concentrate on what the guy is doing, not how he is doing it.

    1. Esskay
      Pint

      Re: Incredible

      ^This.

      The prosthetic treads the line between "looks a bit like an arm" and "KILL IT WITH FIRE" beautifully, staying on the right side of the Uncanny Valley.

      Ultimately, everyone wants an arm that looks like terminator, so they might as well stop making them look "life-like" and just go with it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "arm that looks like terminator"

        There is a trend here in the states away from faux-real looking prosthetics, at least for replacement leg pieces: Beautiful prosthetic legs that are made to be seen

  6. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Good stuff.

    There's a fella I know with a false lower leg... again, rather than hide it he often wears shorts, and this thing was CNC-milled from a billet of aluminium, anodised green, and has a shock absorber running up the centre... It looks like it belongs to an expensive motorcycle and pretty darned cool. 'Flesh coloured' plastic never does!

    1. John Bailey
      Happy

      Re: Good stuff.

      Well done him. And I'll bet he had to argue with his fitter to have the cosmetic covering left off. It's a problem we amputees face every time we get a new limb made. Prosthetics companies are so fixated on emulating the organic, they can't really comprehend the concept of us being quite happy to appear a bit robotic, or surreal.

      Seriously though. Given a choice between say a carbon fibre shell, and mannequin pink plastic, which finish would you prefer on a prosthetic limb.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Good stuff.

        >Seriously though. Given a choice between say a carbon fibre shell, and mannequin pink plastic, which finish would you prefer on a prosthetic limb?

        That's an easy one John- I'd choose the one that makes me look like the hero out of Crysis! Though I did watch a sci-fi short film, featuring a robot with classical blue-on-white porcelain body panels which looked rather fetching... http://www.robotshop.com/blog/the-gift-from-carl-erik-rinsch-611

        Its like the most common form of prosthetic- spectacles... Many people actively choose models with large frames -especially ones with ornate arms- and no-one chooses Caucasian-flesh coloured frames (unless you include the inevitable lad in primary school whose specs have been repaired with a sticking plaster).

      2. jai

        Re: Good stuff.

        <TonyStark> Throw a little hotrod red in there. Jarvis </TonyStark>

      3. hplasm Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Good stuff.

        'Flesh coloured' plastic never is, looks creepy and scares kids.

        Robot stuff, shiny or CF looks cool and not scary. Unless you are Sarah Connor, of course.

        1. dssf

          Re: Good stuff. even scarier would be...

          Hairy, red, and squeaky... :-)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A hefty price tag to go with it but a very nice piece of kit indeed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      25K for a new arm, I know I'd pay it happily!

    2. DayDragon
      Thumb Up

      Oh i don't know, 25k sounds quite good for a replacement forearm.

      Going with this and the prosthetic legs people have these days i guess we know figures when someone says "it costs an arm and a leg"

      It doesn't show you how far his amputation is so i'll assume he has his natural elbow and half his forearm.

      If i had to have one i think i'd prefer to have a foam-latex or rubber grip on the palm and fingers, the egg-cracking wasn't great (though still impressive) and the beer holding looked like it could slip out but i haven't looked at the arm apart the article and video.

      Being interested in prosthetics i did wonder about the use of pain-receptors to sense touch-grip pressure

  8. Crisp
    Terminator

    This is what science and technology should be doing.

    I can only imagine the difference that this arm makes to his quality of life.

    I'm still looking forward to the day when I can get an extra third arm fitted so that I don't have to take my hands off the keyboard while I'm using a mouse.

    1. Not That Andrew

      Yup, but it's sad that it takes a war for it to get funded. There have been similar systems for a while, but they've never been able to iron out all the problems, largely due to lack of funding.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        >Yup, but it's sad that it takes a war for it to get funded.

        It is sad, but alas, war has been responsible for funding most technological development over the millennia.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is what science and technology should be doing.

      "I'm still looking forward to the day when I can get an extra third arm fitted so that I don't have to take my hands off the keyboard while I'm using a mouse."

      It'll do wonders for your ski-boxing, too!

    3. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: This is what science and technology should be doing.

      using a 'mouse'.... right...

      1. Crisp

        Re: This is what science and technology should be doing.

        It's *my* mouse, and I'll click it as fast as I like thankyouverymuch!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £25k???

    It was £12k in yesterday's Metro, it's doubled in price. Does the the £25k version come with free clothes, boots and motorcycle?

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: £25k???

      Go-faster stripes, DAB radio and a big chrome exhaust. Just don't ask where the latter gets fitted.

  10. Simon Rockman

    Why restrict it to people whov'e lost limbs

    I'd love an extra arm or two - Beeblebrox style. Then I could type, hold the phone, use the mouse and perhaps pour a drink all at the same time.

    It's being worked on at MIT: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21628885.800-need-a-hand-wearable-robot-arms-give-you-two.html

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Why restrict it to people whov'e lost limbs

      As the old joke goes: "The Russians just used a straw and a Bluetooth headset"

      Soldering- that is the job I most want an extra arm for.

  11. MrXavia
    Thumb Up

    Excellent

    This is one area of technology where I am glad to see that the UK is leading..

    Not only with RSLSteeper and this arm, but TouchBionics, with their amazing i-limb prosthetic hands...

    All we need is some boffin to finally figure out how to reliably link up with the nervous system!

    1. Crisp

      As soon as they do that

      I'm getting myself fitted with Wi-Fi

      1. Red Bren

        Re: As soon as they do that

        "I'm getting myself fitted with Wi-Fi"

        Where will you plug in the backhaul cable? Actually I don't want to know...

  12. Jim 48
    Megaphone

    It should be the law that all prosthetics sound like that!

  13. Dale 3
    Headmaster

    At its strongest setting it has a grip strength of 140N and weighs about half a kilo

    I wonder how much it weighs at its weakest setting?

  14. Esskay
    Thumb Up

    That. Is. Awesome.

    *goes into shed*

    *gets hacksaw*

  15. squilookle

    As an amputee myself, I get just about every reaction going from people on the street and I understand where he's coming from, but think he has the right approach to it, i.e. not trying to hide it.

    Personally, I'm not interested in this kind of technology for myself as I have spent too much time (I was born with mine) and effort learning to cope with it and I only really have problems with video games that require the use of the right shoulder buttons on my XBox controller (and don't give me the option to reconfigure the buttons). People tend to be surprised when they see me doing mundane stuff like carrying pints from the bar, typing, chopping onions. I don't mind surprise, but I can't stand it when people assume I need help and provide it without asking (asking is fine - it's polite and I have the option to politely refuse).

    However, I know a lot of people will find the technology improves their lives, so I wish this guy and the developers of the arm the best of luck.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re XBOX controller:

      Hiya squilookle

      Have you heard of Ben Heck? He's of interest to anyone who likes hacking and modifying hardware, but well known for modifying XBOX controllers for one-handed use. (Sadly, demand is a consequence of recent military forays overseas)

      http://benheck.com/store

      He can build to order, so he could just relocate the shoulder button or whatever, if your prosthetic allows use of the other controls.

      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: Re XBOX controller & Benheck

        He's also designed purpose-built a one-handed controller:

        http://benheck.com/10-24-2007/benhecks-new-single-handed-access-controller-revealed

        http://www.edimensional.com/product_info.php?cPath=24&products_id=143

    2. DayDragon

      I'm not sure if the technology or any applications can do it, but i wondered about using some kind of EEG equipment (such as Emotiv EPOC) to control a computer/games console/ any electrical gadget (with wifi link to a House controller)...

  16. Pavlov's obedient mutt
    Thumb Up

    awesomeness

    Both the prosthetic and the bloke - respect in every way

    I'd just change the video in one way - as he sits down to watch the telly with the glass in his one hand, I'd just have him crush the bottle and give a slightly evil grin :)

    1. Michael Xion
      Happy

      Re: awesomeness

      +1 I was actually waiting for that myself

  17. Ramiro
    Boffin

    Training

    Top Bloke. I wonder how long it took to train the muscles to control the hand. I'd expect it to be the most difficult part of the process, but perhaps not that much different from what they already have to go through with physical therapy after a traumatic accident.

    I'm curious about how long the battery lasts, I suppose it'll be a battery race, hand or smartphone ?

    Of course you could put a bigger battery in the arm, an usb plug, and chard the phone from the arm. Or just embed the smartphone in the arm,

    Or a laser.

    The possibilities!

  18. ravenviz
    Joke

    Unfortunate smelting accident

    Is he actually Goldmember?

    Well, OK an unfortunate blending accident at a smelting factory.

  19. TeeCee Gold badge

    Steampunk arms?

    Just caught myself looking for the telltale trilobite sigil on that. Looks like it came straight out of the Mechanicsburg hospital.

    1. Winston Smith

      Re: Steampunk arms?

      I was waiting for him to clap his hands together and transmute something.

  20. PsychoHippy
    Pint

    That's one seriously fancy arm, but why is there not a built in bottle opener? Someone seriously missed a trick there!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    But does he have

    But does he have

    1) An arm for microelectronics work

    2) An arm for polite company

    3) An arm for fighting

    Bah - I'd rather have an imaginary 3rd arm...

    (the one with The Moon is a Harsh Mistress in one pocket and The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton in the other).

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