The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, otherwise known as DARPA
(you know, they created that thing which allows you to read this site -- the internet?), has tasked scientists with the goal of creating a bionic arm that looks, feels ,and works like a real arm
by the year 2009. The $55 million project to be managed by the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore consists of dozens of teams of biologists, physicists and electronic engineers from both government, university and private organizations, each of which will design and construct sample arms, with one or more of the wining designs is then hoped to go into clinical testing on patients in 2009. Current plans range from arms that are controlled using an implantable device, to arms that are controlled by the nerves in the amputated area, to arms that would receive signals directly from the person's brain. If all the goals of the program are met, the bionic arm would be able to perform tasks as minute as buttoning a shirt button, and even provide sensory feedback.