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iPod touch stolen, used by war vet for prosthetic hand control

Steve Sande, @stevensande
August 26, 2014
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The opinion people have about thieves in general is pretty low, but a thief who broke into the truck of 27-year-old Afghanistan war vet Staff Sgt. Ben Eberle deserves loathing of a special kind. The thief took an iPod touch especially configured with an app called i-limb, used to control a prosthetic hand like the one seen above that was worn by Eberle.

Eberle lost both legs and his right hand in a bomb blast three years ago, and has been using the prosthetic with the help of i-limb and the iPod touch. Using the pinky on the prosthetic hand to manipulate the app, Eberle can adjust the hand in an amazing number of ways. The hand and the app -- and the iPod touch -- all work together as a unit.

While the iPod touch is only worth about US$240, San Antonio, TX police say that the thief could be charged with felony theft between $20,000 and $100,000. That's because the prosthetic hand is essentially worthless without the iPod touch and will have to be replaced at a cost of about $75,000.

The iPod touch has a special logo on the back of it from the manufacturer, Touch Bionics. San Antonio Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest of the thief, so if a reader happens to see the unique iPod touch, they can call 210-224-7867 with a tip and possibly help a vet recover some of his dexterity.

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