Learn more about the Utah NeuroRobotics Lab, as told by...

In this endowed distinguished Gould Lecture, Dr. George highlights how his lab is turning science fiction ideas, like Luke Skywalker's bionic arm, into real-world applications to restore and enhance human function. Topics include thought-controlled prostheses endowed with a sense of touch, wrist-worn neural interfaces for virtual/augmented reality, and brain-machine interfaces to reanimate paralyzed limbs. The Utah NeuroRobotics Lab empowers an inclusive future in which everyone can seamlessly interact with the technology around them, regardless of their physical capabilities.

If you're considering the University of Utah for your education, this video is for you! From the greatest snow (and skiing) on earth, to out-of-this-world red-rock formations, Utah has it all. And Salt Lake City is the heart of it all - a vibrant and diverse community, surrounded by beautiful lakes and mountains. At the University of Utah, you have all this, plus state-of-the-art research and top-tier education. It really is an excellent place to call "home."

In 2019, Dr. George and fellow researchers at the U made waves with the "LUKE Arm" (named after the robotic hand given to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back), a prosthetic arm that has the ability to feel objects by transmitting the appropriate signals to the brain. Not only can the arm feel, but it can be controlled by the user's thoughts. In this 2021 TED-style talk, Dr. George talks about the advances that have taken place since the their breakthrough was first announced.

Who is Jacob A. George? In this presentation Dr. George (known by most as "Jake") talks about his pathway to becoming a scientist and leader in the field of brain-computer interfaces. This presentation was a part of the prestigious Vitae 2022, an annual celebration of excellence in which University of Utah Health rising star researchers share their science and how they got to where they are today.

This video from the University of Utah highlights our work developing closed-loop sensorimotor neuroprostheses. We're now gearing up for a "take-home trial" where participants will take the LUKE arm home with them and use it in their daily lives.

The Craig H. Neilsen Hospital officially opened at the University of Utah on May 28th, 2020. Despite opening in the midst of a pandemic, we have accomplished a lot and the hospital has emerged as the preeminent location for rehabilitation in the Mountain West. One year from opening, we reflect on the amazing facilities and accomplishments of our team in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

This short video segment from ABC news highlights our recent work on biomimetic sensory feedback and dexterous motor control for prostheses. This work was done in collaboration with Dr. Gregory Clark and the broader Center for Neural Interfaces at the University of Utah.

This video segment from Fox 13 news includes a short interview with a prior participant in our research studies: Keven Walgamott.  Keven describes the emotional impact of feeling a sense of touch from a bionic hand for the first time since his amputation 13 years ago.

When Utahns saw the new "Star Wars - The Rise of Skywalker" in theaters, they got a glimpse of real-life technology developed at the University of Utah that seems fitting for a galaxy far far away! This Ad aired in movie theaters across the state in order to inspire the next generation of "Jedi Scientists" who can help us continue to turn science fiction into reality.

This extended video segment by Colomba films (Santiago, Chile) highlights our recent participant, Keven Walgamott, who was one of the first to use the LUKE Arm.  Keven recalls what it was like to have a bionic arm controlled entirely by thought and endowed with a sense of touch. This video segment also highlight several ongoing research projects in the Utah NeuroRobotics Lab and broader Center for Neural Interfaces.

This short video from the Association of Clinical and Translational Sciences highlights the Utah NeuroRobotics Lab's leading efforts in bionic devices and brain-computer interfaces for restoring sensorimotor function after life-altering neuromuscular impairment.

This 10-min presentation provides an overview of the foundations of the Utah NeuroRobotics Lab. Dr. George highlights his foundational research that led to the establishment of the Utah NeuroRobotics Lab with support from highly prestigious NIH Director's Early Independence Award.

This video provides an overview of the Craig H. Neilsen Rehabilitation hospital, which features state-of-the-art research and clinical equipment and amazing views of the nearby Wasatch Mountains.

The Craig H. Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital sets a new standard for rehabilitation across the Mountain West. We provide a holistic team-based rehabilitation strategy that incorporates new technology developed within the Utah NeuroRobotics Lab.

Additional Media Articles

Published Books


2021    Princeton University Press, “Spark: The Life of Electricity and the Electricity of Life






Public Presentations


2022    University of Utah Health, “Vitae 2022: People and Stories that Drive Our Research

2021    University of Utah Health Partners, “Can we control a robotic hand with our mind? Jacob George, PhD

2017    Aspen Ideas Festival, “The Implications – Bright and Dark – of Powerful New Technologies”

2017    Society for Neuroscience Press Conference, “Restoring touch generators a sense of ownership over prosthetic hands”


Podcasts, Blogs, and Vlogs


2022    Global Visions by Brown Journal of World Affairs, “S02 E01 - Dr. Jacob George: Director of the Utah NeuroRobotics Lab

2022    Neural Implant Podcast, “Jacob George on implantable and wearable neurotech research at the University of Utah

2022    The Superposition, Q&A with Dr. Jacob George

2020    Neural Implant Podcast, “FDA approves IDE for take-home trial using the DEKA LUKE prosthetic arm and Utah Slant Array : Participants will be able to take home the dexterous bionic hand which they can feel in next phase of research

2018    LocalLife, “The Trail of the RBC Heritage Ticket: Jacob George

2017    Neuro Transmissions, “Is Luke’s Robotic Hand Possible?


Indexed News Articles


2020    IEEE Pulse, “Restoring the Sense of Touch: From “Sci-Fi Dream” to Reality

2019    JAMA, Better Sensation and Dexterity for Artificial Hands


Mainstream Media News Articles


2022    National Geographic, “The audacious science pushing the boundaries of human touch feature

2021    ABC News,U of U Professor makes Forbes ’30 under 30′ list

2021    Forbes, “30 Under 30 In Science 2022: Finding New Worlds, Communicating STEM And Helping Dogs Live Longer

2021    Forbes, “30 Under 30: Jacob George

2021    Forbes, “30 Under 30: Science. Inventing the future from the atom up”

2019    Washington Post, “New prosthetic limbs go beyond the functional to allow people to ‘feel’ again

2019    NPR, “Improved Prosthetic Hand Has A Lighter Touch And Easy Grip

2019    PBS NOVA, “This robotic hand can partially restore a sense of touch

2019    CNN, “Amputee can feel objects again with prosthetic arm inspired by Luke Skywalker

2019    ABC News,U of U researchers create prosthetic arm that can feel

2019    Fox News, “Bionic arm lets Utah man control it with just his thoughts

2019    USA Today, “A bionic hand named after Luke Skywalker could help amputees feel again

2019    Reuters,Star Wars-inspired prosthetic lets amputee 'feel' again

2019    The London Times, “‘Luke Skywalker’ robotic arm lets amputee feel again

2019    The Guardian,'At last I can feel again': Robotic hand gives user a sense of touch

2019    Independent, Robotic arm named after Luke Skywalker enables amputee to touch and feel again

2019    Scientific American,A Robot Hand Helps Amputees ‘Feel’ Again

2019    CNET, “The Luke Skywalker arm let an amputee wear his wedding ring again after 17 years

2019    Gizmodo,Scientists Have Created a Prosthetic Arm That Lets Patients Feel Touch Again

2019    Mashable, “This ‘Star Wars’-inspired prosthetic arm gives amputees the ability to feel again

2019    Fox World Media, “Prosthetic Arm That Is Motorized Has the Ability to Move with Your Thoughts and Can Sense Touch

2019    Smithsonian,Robotic Hand Restores Wearer’s Sense of Touch

2019    Popular Mechanics, “The Star Wars-Inspired Robotic Arm That Gives Amputees a Sense of Touch

2019    Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC),This man was able to grasp his wife's hand — and feel it — with new prosthetic technology

2019    Medgadget, World’s Most Advanced Prosthetic Now With Sense of Touch

2018    US News & World Report, “Veteran’s Bionic Hand Is Turning Heads in Mandeville

2017    Wired, “The Merging of Humans and Machines is Happening Now

2017    The Washington Post, “New Robotic Hand Name After Luke Skywalker Helps Amputee Touch and Feel Again

2017    Mashable, “Experimental research is giving the sense of touch to robotic prosthetics

2017    US News & World Report, “Mandeville Man Ready for Amputation, Bionic Arm


Scientific Organization News Articles


2021    Facebook Reality Labs, “Announcing the winners of the 2021 Engineering Approaches to Responsible Neural Interface Design request for proposals

2021    Association for Clinical and Translational Science, "2021 ACTS Outstanding Trainee: Post-Doctoral Award: Jacob A. George, PhD"

2020    National Institutes of Health, “NIH to support 85 new grants featuring high-risk, high-reward research”

2020    National Institutes of Health,NIH Director’s Early Independence Award Recipients

2019    Society for Neuroscience Twitter, “Brain Awareness Week

2018    Inside Neuroscience Quarterly, Restoring Sensation

2017    Society for Neuroscience Hot Topic Media Release, “Performance of tasks with closed-loop control of sensorized prosthetic hands by a transradial amputee with peripheral nerve and intramuscular implants”


Additional News Articles


2022    Mind Matters News, "What if a prosthetic limb could feel like the real thing?"

2021    Newsweek, “'Skywalker' Prosthetic Hand Feels Like It's the Real Thing to Amputees

2020    UChicago News, “UChicago neuroscientists expand possibilities for realistic prosthetic limbs”

2019    Good News Network,Robotic Arm Named After Luke Skywalker Enables Amputee to Touch and Feel Again: 'It almost put me to tears'

2019    Tech Xplore,Motorized prosthetic arm that can sense touch, move with your thoughts

2019    EurekAlert,Reach out and touch someone

2019    AMI-Audio,The LUKE Arm

2019    O&P Edge,University Engineers Develop Prosthetic Arm That Can Move, Feel

2019    Gestión, “El ‘brazo Luke’, una prótesis capaz de coger un huevo sin romperlo

2019    Interesting Engineering, “New Star Wars Prosthetic Arm Can Sense, Touch, Move With Your Thoughts

2019    SlashGear, “Prosthetic ‘Luke Arm’ mimics how a hand feels objects

2019    LabMate Online,Can Prosthetics Sense Touch?

2019    MedIndia, “Novel Technology may Help Amputees Touch and Feel Again

2019    Science Daily,Motorized prosthetic arm can sense touch, move with your thoughts

2019    Tech Times, “LOOK: Robotic Arm Named After Luke Skywalker Lets Users ‘Feel’

2019    Medical Daily, “Prosthetics Breakthrough: Robot Arm Lets User Feel Touch Again

2019    Science Alert, “This Robotic Arm Inspired by Luke Skywalker Has Allowed an Amputee to Feel Again

2019    Wonderful Engineering, “LUKE Arm Is A Prosthetic Arm That Can Sense Every Touch

2019    Ankeny Observer,The Empire Strikes Back – Luke Skywalker Prosthetic Hands

2019    News Coed, “University of Utah Students Develop Prosthetic System to Regain Senses

2019    Singularity Hub,Moving Beyond Mind-Controlled Limbs to Prosthetics That Can Actually ‘Feel’

2019    Newz Hook, ‘Luke’ prosthetic limb promises to restore sense of touch to amputees

2019    We Are The Mighty, “This 'Star Wars' prosthetic helps amputees touch and feel again

2019    CBR,Star Wars: A Luke Skywalker-Inspired Prosthetic Arm Lets Amputee Feel Again

2019    Online Focus, “’Star Wars’-Prothese lässt Menschen Objekte erfühlen

2019    CTV News, “Experimental prosthetic arm allows amputees to 'feel' again

2019    Medscape,The Week That Wasn't: Bionic Hands, Weaponized Ticks, Wellness Shots

2019    China.org, “U.S. engineers develop robotic arm that can feel things

2019    Express Digest, “Robotic arm allows amputee to touch and feel again – using only the power of THOUGHT

2019    Gilmore Health, “Motorized Prosthetic Arm That Works With Thoughts Enables Amputee To Sense Touch

2019    Top of Mind,Biomedical Engineers Pave Way for Prosthetic Arm that Can Move and Feel the Same as a Human Arm

2019    Constant Wonder,Robotic LUKE Hand Let Amputee Feel Fingers Again

2019    Daily Mail,Robotic arm allows amputee to touch and feel again - using only the power of THOUGHT as fascinating footage shows the real estate agent plucking grapes without crushing them

2019    Mirror UK, “Brain-controlled robotic arm lets amputee pick grapes and send text messages

2017    SingularityHub, “Thought-Controlled Prosthetic Hand Restores 100 Realistic Touch Sensations

2017    Sputnik News International, “’Simply Move’: Prosthetic Technology Offers New Hope Spinal Cord Injury Victims

2017    Digital Trends, “High-tech Neuroprosthetic “Luke” Arm Lets Amputee Touch and Feel Again

2017    Interesting Engineering, “This Robotic Arm Named After Luke Skywalker is Pushing the Boundaries of Prosthetics

2017    The Times-Picayune, “After Years of Pain, Mandeville Man Ready for Amputation, Bionic Arm

2017    The Times-Picayune,Mandeville Army Vet’s Amputation: ‘Pain in the Name of Progress’

2017    MedCityNews, “Neuroscientists Take Baby Steps Towards Better Prosthetics

2017    TechFresca,High-Tech Neuroprosthetic Arm Allows User to Touch and Feel

2017    TheWeek, “This Robotic Hand Restores Amputees’ Sense of Touch

2017    SpinOff, “Users Regain Over 100 Sensations in the Arm


Utah News Articles


2023    Deseret News, “Before he was named Sterling Scholar, this high schooler excelled in college-level robotics research

2020    Utah Business, The bionic arm of the future is here

2019    Salt Lake Tribune, “University of Utah robotics breakthrough, the LUKE Arm, will be seen at theaters playing ‘Star Wars’ movie

2019    Deseret News,University of Utah bioengineers advance thought-controlled prosthetics to sense of touch

2018    SaltLakeMagazine, “Strange Science, Serious Solutions

2017    The Daily Utah Chronicle, “LUKE Robotic Arm Pays Tribute to Star Wars


University of Utah Press Releases


2022    University of Utah Biomedical Engineering,BME PhD Alum, Jake George, Selected for 2022 VITAE

2022    University of Utah Biomedical Engineering,BME Students Present Research on Capitol Hill

2022    University of Utah Biomedical Engineering, “Utah BME Student Wins Second Place at Podium Competition

2022    University of Utah Electrical and Computer Engineering,ECE Student Wins First Place at Podium Competition”

2022    University of Utah Electrical and Computer Engineering, "George Receives $200K Grant"

2022    University of Utah Health 360 Connect,Star Wars-Inspired Prosthetic Lets Amputees Move and Feel

2022    University of Utah Electrical and Computer Engineering,George Featured in The Superposition and Mind Matters News

2021    @theU, “George Named one of ’30 under 30’

2021    University of Utah Health, “Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Faculty Named One of Forbes’ “30 Under 30”

2021    University of Utah College of Engineering,George Named One of ’30 Under 30’

2021    University of Utah Electrical and Computer Engineering, “George Awarded Ascender Grant

2021    University of Utah Electrical and Computer Engineering, “George Awarded Facebook Grant

2021    University of Utah Electrical and Computer Engineering, “George Awarded NVIDIA Jetson Nano Grant

2021    University of Utah Electrical and Computer Engineering, "Jacob George Receives NIH Award"

2020    University of Utah Health, “Three U of U Health Scientists Receive High-Risk High-Reward Grants Recognizing Innovation and Impact

2020    University of Utah Engineering,Luke Arm Documentary

2020    University of Utah Biomedical Engineering, “LUKE arm researcher receives NIH award

2020    University of Utah,U of U Silicon Slopes Summit 2020

2019    University of Utah Advertising, “The force is with U

2019    University of Utah Magazine, “A New Hope

2019    University of Utah Fall Newsletter,High Tech High Touch

2019    Unews, “Prosthetic arm can move and feel

2019    University of Utah College of Engineering,Prosthetic Arm that Can ‘Feel’

2019    University of Utah YouTube, “University of Utah researchers develop LUKE Arm

2018    University of Utah Twitter, “They call the project "Luke Skywalker." Led by bioengineering professor Greg Clark, a team of U engineers are developing a prosthetic arm that can be controlled by brain waves and provides a sense of touch.