04 Aug 2020 10:30 AM +00:00 UTC

Star Wars Inspires Scientists to Develop Artificial Skin

Following Luke Skywalker's encounter with Darth Vader where he found out the truth about his father and got his hand cut off in the process, a prosthetic hand model was used later on to replace Luke's hand. This iconic moment in the franchise inspired a group of researchers in Singapore who are working on artificial skin that's capable of replicating the sensation of touch.

A recent report from Reuters revealed a new device called ACES, which stands for Asynchronous Coded Electronic Skin. Researchers at the National University of Singapore made this in an effort to help those with prosthetic limbs regain the sensation of touch, inspired by the technology used in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back to create Luke's prosthetic hand.

The device is made up of 100 small sensors and is about 1 sq cm in size. It can also process information faster than the human nervous system, being able to recognize around 20 to 30 different textures as well as read Braille letters with more than 90% accuracy.


Lead researcher Benjamin Tee says it's still in the experimental stage, but there had been "tremendous interest" from the medical community.

This is only one of the many instances where scientists have looked to Star Wars for inspiration. The United States' Strategic Defense Initiative of the 1980s was widely referred to as the "Star Wars Program." The franchise has also been credited in predicting current technology such as holograms and AI robots.

You can rewatch the iconic scene by streaming Empire Strikes Back on Disney+.

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