iPod touch used to control war veteran’s prosthetic hand is stolen

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Staff Sgt. Ben Eberle’s prosthetic hand is controlled using his iPod touch.

Normally a story about a stolen iPod touch wouldn’t be worthy of major news coverage. That changes, however, when the iPod touch in question is used to control its war veteran owner’s prosthetic hand.

The iPod touch belongs to Afghanistan vet Staff Sgt. Ben Eberle, 27, who lost both his right hand and two legs in a bomb explosion three years ago while on a tour of duty. The device features an app called i-limb, which allows Eberle to use his prosthetic hand.

The iPod was stolen late last week, after Eberle’s truck was broken into.

“[Getting a new prosthetic hand and iPod configured to work together] takes a long time,” Eberle told the San Antonio Express-News. “It’s tedious and it’s a lot of work with the hand itself.”

Although the iPod touch costs only around $240, police have said that the thieves could be charged with felony theft between $20,000 and $100,000 in this instance.

Hopefully this incident is resolved as quickly as possible. “I believe that we owe guys like this a lot more than this sort of treatment, as a society,” San Antonio Police Department spokesman Sgt. Javier Salazar has said.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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