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$75K Prosthetic Arm Is Bricked When Paired iPod Is Stolen

timothy posted about three weeks ago | from the what-about-backups dept.

Bug 194

kdataman writes U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ben Eberle, who lost an arm and both legs in Afghanistan, had his Ipod Touch stolen on Friday. This particular Ipod Touch has an app on it that controls his $75,000 prosthetic arm. The robbery bricked his prosthesis: "That is because Eberle's prosthetic hand is programmed to only work with the stolen iPod, and vice versa. Now that the iPod is gone, he said he has to get a new hand and get it reprogrammed with his prosthesis." I see three possibilities: 1) The article is wrong, possibly to guilt the thief into returning the Ipod. 2) This is an incredibly bad design by Touch Bionics. Why would you make a $70,000 piece of equipment permanently dependent on a specific Ipod Touch? Ipods do fail or go missing. 3) This is an intentionally bad design to generate revenue. Maybe GM should do this with car keys? "Oops, lost the keys to the corvette. Better buy a new one."

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I see three possibilities (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755679)

Who?

The guy in the article?
The article?
The editor?
The submitter?

At least start a new paragraph..

Re:I see three possibilities (5, Interesting)

kdataman (1687444) | about three weeks ago | (#47755785)

I am the submitter and the layout of the original submission was much different with a new paragraph there.

Re:I see three possibilities (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755957)

You should have gone with a more reputable news aggregation service like FARK or 4chan. Their editors are top notch compared to Slashdot.

Re:I see three possibilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47756321)

Whosever opinion it is, I don't care. I don't read the news to find out what some random person's opinion is, I just want the facts If I wanted baseless opinions I'd tune in to Fox.

Re:I see three possibilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47756293)

That's four possibilities.

Re:I see three possibilities (0)

CaptnZilog (33073) | about three weeks ago | (#47756425)

Nobody expects the Ipod Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise, fear and surprise; two chief weapons, fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency! Three chief weapons! Fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to Jobs... ack! Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as....

Re:I see three possibilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47756511)

Nobody expects the Ipod Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise, fear and surprise; two chief weapons, fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency! Three chief weapons! Fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to Jobs... ack! Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as....

Bring forth the comfy chair!

Re:I see three possibilities (1)

geogob (569250) | about three weeks ago | (#47756329)

See the original submission before it got edited for the worse...
http://science.slashdot.org/su... [slashdot.org]

You've gotta hand it to him though. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755681)

He'll be right. He is from the ARMy after all.

Re:You've gotta hand it to him though. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755901)

Some people really are willing to pay an arm and a leg for their Apple products.

Re:You've gotta hand it to him though. (1)

geogob (569250) | about three weeks ago | (#47756355)

It's appropriate that they chose a device with arm processor to pair with these prosthetic.

Re:You've gotta hand it to him though. (1)

TheTerseOne (2447418) | about three weeks ago | (#47756373)

I find your humorous post quite disarming.

On a side note, does anyone know if this prosthesis uses an ARM processor?

Hmmm ... (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about three weeks ago | (#47755683)

This is an incredibly bad design by Touch Bionics. Why would you make a $70,000 piece of equipment permanently dependent on a specific Ipod Touch?

You know, given the terrible kind of software we see in embedded software, and the terrible security implemented by most companies ... I'm perfectly willing to believe this is an incredibly bad design, because there's plenty of evidence that these kinds of things tend to have incredibly bad designs.

Between companies using 10 year old Linux kernels, to having unpatchable systems, or just having really bad understandings of security, I've come to conclude this is the norm.

Re:Hmmm ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755719)

civilian tech (two words)

Re:Hmmm ... (5, Insightful)

RobinH (124750) | about three weeks ago | (#47755765)

Except the terribly bad design we typically see in embedded design is normally to provide a back-door way to prevent just this kind of problem. "Oh, you lost your password? No problem, hold down these three buttons and cycle power and it'll reset everything to factory defaults, and then you can login with this default password."

Re:Hmmm ... (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about three weeks ago | (#47755815)

Why is that bad design? It allows access to the system again, but in a way that makes it pretty fecking obvious access has been gained - thats how I would like it to be handled rather than the alternatives of never gaining access or gaining unfettered access with all data in place and no one being aware access was gained.

Re:Hmmm ... (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about three weeks ago | (#47755897)

Exactly. Especially when the reset to factory requires physical presence. In most cases it is exactly the right thing.

Re:Hmmm ... (2)

Andrewkov (140579) | about three weeks ago | (#47755955)

If he would only read the manual, you only have to pull the thumb and bend the elbow for 3 seconds to put it in pairing mode.

Re:Hmmm ... (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about three weeks ago | (#47756139)

Unfortunately, the sole copy of the manual exists as an app that only works with that particular iPod Touch.

Re:Hmmm ... (3, Funny)

putaro (235078) | about three weeks ago | (#47756265)

No, that's not right. You have to pull the finger. I'll show you. Pull my finger.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

drolli (522659) | about three weeks ago | (#47756421)

Could you power down and act death for a few minutes? Then the devices would reset itself for the next owner.

Re:Hmmm ... (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about three weeks ago | (#47755811)

I'm having a bit of a hard time understanding how the entire device could be permanently bricked, even in the case of a poor design. Instead of replacing the entire $70k arm, surely they could swap out a chip or circuit board somewhere...?

Re:Hmmm ... (5, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | about three weeks ago | (#47756107)

$70k is the standard repair fee for prosthetics not covered under an Applecare agreement.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

CaptnZilog (33073) | about three weeks ago | (#47756441)

$70k is the standard repair fee for prosthetics not covered under an Applecare agreement.

They designed it with a bionic battery with only an 18mo lifespan, that can't be replaced.

Re:Hmmm ... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about three weeks ago | (#47755865)

I'd be totally unsurprised by incredibly bad design; but that incredibly bad design would also tend to make it relatively trivial to access whatever memory holds the UID or key used to establish the pairing and blank or rewrite it to establish a new pairing with a new device. Probably not in the owner's manual; but likely something that an EE undergrad could do with access to a few hundreds to thousands of dollars worth of borrowed test equipment and a congratulatory couple of six-packs. Definitely for less than replacing the hardware.

Design that is both appallingly ill thought out and too ironclad to subvert would be fairly surprising. Now, if it were a prosthetic eye, and needed to appease the MPAA when handling Premium Content, I'd be more concerned...

Re:Hmmm ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47756093)

Bollox. Bad design is built in on purpose. Some manager or above explicitly told the programmer to build that dependency in. Been there, done that, fought against it and was categorically told do it or lose my job.

Never assume a skilled professional makes a terrible decision. It has to be coded and someone makes that call above a programmer's pay-grade.

Re:Hmmm ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47756447)

Bollox. Bad design is built in on purpose. Some manager or above explicitly told the programmer to build that dependency in. Been there, done that, fought against it and was categorically told do it or lose my job.

Never assume a skilled professional makes a terrible decision. It has to be coded and someone makes that call above a programmer's pay-grade.

I'd say it's more likely that some manager told their programmer to make absolutely sure that no other iPod than his could possibly control his prosthetics to avoid the possibility of some jokester deciding it would be fun it he took control of someone's arms.

Re:Hmmm ... (2)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about three weeks ago | (#47756565)

Still, there has to be some kind of mechanism to do the initial pairing, even if this requires removing a PCB and hooking it up to the diag/programming equipment they have at the factory. Even counting a few hours of engineers time, it would be much much less that 70k.

Bad Planning (5, Insightful)

neoform (551705) | about three weeks ago | (#47755685)

What if the ipod was dropped and breaks? What kind of poor planning is this where that one ipod was the linchpin of this expensive prosthetic?

Re:Bad Planning (3, Interesting)

rmdingler (1955220) | about three weeks ago | (#47755699)

Is the explanation as simple as:

The government foots the bill as these are mostly used by war veterans, so for the manufacturer, it's another unit sold?

Re:Bad Planning (2, Interesting)

Libertarian_Geek (691416) | about three weeks ago | (#47755717)

Last time I checked, the government doesn't earn money. Taxpayers do.

Re:Bad Planning (3, Informative)

rmdingler (1955220) | about three weeks ago | (#47755823)

Last time I checked, the government doesn't earn money. Taxpayers do.

Well, you know what they say:

For those who cannot print money,

earning is the next best option.

Re:Bad Planning (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about three weeks ago | (#47756371)

Except, the system is setup to prevent the government from printing money directly for their own use.

Lets not forget how it works, the semi-independent federal reserve prints the money and then offers it out as no recourse loans to their industry cronies (or whoever is a most convininet front...like their wives: http://www.rollingstone.com/po... [rollingstone.com] )

Then, those people, now with money in hand that they only have to pay back if they make a profit, they loan it to everyone else, with interest.

Re:Bad Planning (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about three weeks ago | (#47755899)

So not with their own money, but still the government pays for it.

Re:Bad Planning (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about three weeks ago | (#47755935)

It tends to be discouraged, out of concern that states aren't very good at it, or that they might be inclined to use their other powers to make themselves more competitive; but there isn't anything architecturally precluding a state from earning money. They can have employees, own and operate R&D and production facilities, sell products, same as a company.

There are reasons to discourage that, and have them focus on things that the private sector can't do or does poorly; but those are pragmatic considerations, not fundamental obstacles.

Re:Bad Planning (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about three weeks ago | (#47756219)

Case in point right here in my home state of Virginia: The state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control stores (commonly called "ABC stores"). As part of the state's alcohol laws, licensed stores can sell wine and beer, and licensed bars and restaurants can sell booze by the glass. If you want hard liquor by the bottle, you have to buy it at an ABC store, which are state-owned. They turn a profit, and that profit goes into the state's coffers.

Re:Bad Planning (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about three weeks ago | (#47756503)

New Hampshire runs a very similar operation. I've never quite understood why a state whose motto is "Live Free or Die" lets The Man control their booze supply; but I imagine that the indirect tax of a state liquor monopoly is more popular than some direct tax levied elsewhere.

Re:Bad Planning (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about three weeks ago | (#47756133)

The top 1% don't earn money either, they merely collect it. And yet that cash spends just as easily (even more easily, some might say) as someone who worked for the money.

Government can and do earn money (1)

sjbe (173966) | about three weeks ago | (#47756151)

Last time I checked, the government doesn't earn money.

Not even remotely true. Governments are perfectly capable of earning money when they choose to. Governments can and do own things and can behave very much like private businesses if they want to. In China and Egypt and Russia (and many more) have huge swaths of the private economy are outright owned by the government. The fact that the US government generally refrains from trying to make a profit and behaving like a private enterprise doesn't mean they cannot or do not. For a time in the very recent past the US government literally owned GM and Chrysler which means the US government was for a time in the automobile manufacturing business.

Not to mention that a government can literally "print" money if they want to. The Federal Reserve technically makes a profit every year though that doesn't really mean much in reality.

Taxpayers do.

Some do and some do not. People who stay home to raise children often do not earn any money. Religious leaders are often supported by tithes or donations earned by others. Elected officials and judges are typically supported by taxpayers.

Re:Government can and do earn money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47756297)

The CIA has been known to use some...interesting...ways to earn money for untraced "black" budgets.

Had some friends that were Green Berets in 'Nam. The CIA used to use the Green Berets as their hired muscle to guard drug shipments and rob banks.

Re:Bad Planning (2)

smooth wombat (796938) | about three weeks ago | (#47756169)

Last time I checked, the government doesn't earn money. Taxpayers do.

The government, at all levels, does earn some money in the form of usage fees such as national/state parks or land they lease to ranchers.

It's no different than paying money to rent out a place for your wedding.

Re:Bad Planning (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about three weeks ago | (#47756411)

Not to mention the US Postal Service which doesn't get taxpayer money and needs to earn its own money to cover operating expenses.

Re:Bad Planning (2)

michael_rendier (2601249) | about three weeks ago | (#47755721)

Perhaps an app that can be downloaded to a new device?

I think he's talking about calibration data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755697)

But it's stupid to only save it on the device.

Re:I think he's talking about calibration data (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about three weeks ago | (#47756271)

I know people that have far more than $75k worth of data sitting on their home PCs with no backup.

If true, it is no longer the case with new devices (5, Informative)

Majestros (686956) | about three weeks ago | (#47755705)

I recently sat through a Touch Bionics seminar and, at least for the newer devices, all you need to do is enter the "serial number" of the hand into the app and it can control it. We even joked about how easy it was, so friends with prosthetic hands could prank each other by entering their friend's serial number into their own app and controlling their friend's hand. This may just apply to new devices though, maybe in response to problems like this?

Re:If true, it is no longer the case with new devi (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about three weeks ago | (#47755797)

at least for the newer devices, all you need to do is enter the "serial number" of the hand into the app and it can control it.

Gawd .. whats worse: Bad security or No security?

Re:If true, it is no longer the case with new devi (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | about three weeks ago | (#47755819)

This is security through obscurity, until the arm sends his serial number over bluetooth or something.

Re:If true, it is no longer the case with new devi (1)

Majestros (686956) | about three weeks ago | (#47756161)

There was still a limited range, like 100 feet or less, I don't remember the protocol, so it would really only be an issue if you were hanging out with lots of people with the same version of the hand.

Re:If true, it is no longer the case with new devi (2)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about three weeks ago | (#47755875)

Apple removed the ability for iOS apps to read the iPhone's / iPad's / iPod's device id with iOS 7, which means any software that relied on that would no longer work.

Does the prosthetic co make you buy there ipad? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about three weeks ago | (#47756037)

Does the prosthetic co make you buy there ipad? if so they can sell ones that are the basic model jailbreak by them for say $1000 with there apps pre loaded. Also the paper work calls the ipad an medical device

$75,000 for a prosthetic arm? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755711)

this is ridiculous.

Re:$75,000 for a prosthetic arm? (4, Funny)

Smidge204 (605297) | about three weeks ago | (#47755763)

Seriously, they charge an arm and a leg for prosthetic limbs!

=Smidge=

More like bad typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755727)

The problem isn't that he needs a new hand to get it reprogrammed -- he needs a new iPod and get that reprogrammed to work with his prosthesis. Honestly, though, he should have a backup already for when his current one's battery dies or falls in the toilet.

dom

From the summary (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about three weeks ago | (#47755733)

It is quite possible that all three points that the submitter raises are valid. I'm very likely to believe that the design was intentional. After all, in the software world, the consumer has become the beta tester and if the consumer has software problems, he or she needs to buy expensive "support packages." In effect, the marketing departments figured out how to force the consumer to be a beta tester and make money from the consumer's problems.

Medical Industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47756285)

Oh bullshit. This is the medical industry. It has nothing to do with consumer electronics, and it's amazing that the FDA tolerates consumer electronics at all. Dollars to donuts this is either a) a liability thing, so that the company can't be liable for you attempting to reload/relearn parameters that mate the arm to you, or b) a flawed implementation of a flawed rule written by people who stopped practicing medicine before star trek had tablets.

Prosthetic arm hacking FTW (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about three weeks ago | (#47755755)

Possibility 4) Hardlinking to a specific iPod makes it harder to hack the prosthetic arm from.
It's not the perfect way to prevent hacking, but I can certainly see why this could be considered a security feature that benefits the owner of the arm.
Would you rather have a prosthetic arm that does nothing or one that is controlled by some pubescent scriptkiddie?

Re:Prosthetic arm hacking FTW (3, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | about three weeks ago | (#47755843)

Possibility 4) Hardlinking to a specific iPod makes it harder to hack the prosthetic arm from.

Bricking a device because a external independent device which is well known to be fragile and/or a target of theft has died/lost/stolen is a pretty bad design.

And if the external device is not independent, but is in fact required part of the bricked devices operation - then that is also bad design

Re:Prosthetic arm hacking FTW (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about three weeks ago | (#47756113)

It may be bad design in hindsight, but in the real world every design has concessions.
Integrating the required hardware in the arm itself might have had downsides worse than relying on an external tried and tested commodity device.
It might be as simple as optimizing space, shape and weight, preventing heating or cost savings.

Re:Prosthetic arm hacking FTW (1)

countach (534280) | about three weeks ago | (#47756025)

How would you hardwire it anyway? I highly doubt the iPod hardware is modified. So that means there is some kind of security token on the iPod. But the iTunes/iCloud backup should backup any application data. This should be secure AND allow recovery in the case of loss.

Re:Prosthetic arm hacking FTW (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about three weeks ago | (#47756173)

Again, I'm not defending this as a good design choice, just as one I can imagine a person making for valid reasons.

I'm assuming the iPod hardware has some sort of unique identification baked into the hardware.
Recovery in case of loss is certainly possible; TFS states the arm can be reprogrammed for a new device.
Recovery from inside the app would make hacking easier, even if (limited) physical interaction with the arm is needed.

Could Be Worse (4, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | about three weeks ago | (#47755757)

The guy who stole it could now be controlling his hand. "Now hand over your wallet! No, wait... I'll do it! Bwahahahahah!" Small favors and all that...

For that price (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755761)

It makes me wonder why the arm/hand (which is it?) doesn't have whatever functionality the iPod provides built-in. You can't tell me there isn't enough room in even a forearm to store something iPod sized. I can understand it being linked to particular hardware to prevent any hijacking, but you would think that it would be much like car keys... I can get my $150 new key, but the dealer is the one that can program it to work with only my car.

Re:For that price (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about three weeks ago | (#47756059)

It's insane that it isn't easier to re-key/re-pair with a replacement device; but I suspect that it is otherwise very much for the best to move some functions to the iPod.

Apple has spent a Lot of money designing iDevices and perfecting them over multiple generations. Hard to say how much; but it's a large number. Conveniently for you, they'll sell 'em to you in quantities of 1 for a only a modest premium over production cost.

In an ideal world, the prosthesis would require no 'interface' at all(your arm doesn't, after all); but if it does, a company specializing in prosthetics doesn't have a prayer of delivering an interface device nearly as good as an iDevice or Android unit for less than they could just buy one and develop the necessary software on top of it. (In practice, they'd probably be lucky to develop something substantially worse for three powers of ten more, if they tried it.)

If it turns out that timing-critical control and feedback loop stuff is being done over bluetooth, by an 'app', somebody needs a hell of a beating; but if it's just a UI/Configuration/etc. interface using an off-the-shelf device is extremely logical.

Security (3, Interesting)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about three weeks ago | (#47755781)

The article doesn't specify why they need to replace the hand rather than just do a software reset. But my first thought was of all those stories a while ago about security on diabetic pumps, and I thought "Well now we know why there shouldn't be security on these devices"

Re:Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755965)

Such devises should require close physical proximity and/or skin contact (when implanted) to verify, at least. In some cases, such as where the device is in a pair with an implant and will need only to be close to work, you should pair the devises to get them to work together. There should ins such cases be a specific (contact requiring) method to reset the pairing. If you need to physically assault someone to change the settings then this is not such a serious issue, even if there is no need to get a password, but if anyone within wifi range can have a go....

Re:Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47756117)

Bricking an insulin pump, making it not deliver, is *much, much safer* than allowing it to be hacked and deliver its full load at once. An insulin dependent diabetic can usually obtain syringes. I certainly keep a small box of them, just in case, and put some in my travel supplies. I've even buddy pumped when at a party and someone ran out of insulin, until they could replace their reservoir.

Dumping their full insulin load into them, without particular notice, especially just before they drive.... that's really bad. Most of us will notice if our blood sugar is dropping that hard and that low, but modern "human" insulin contributes to hypoglycemic unawareness. And a pregnant diabetic, lord, they're got enough blood sugar swings to deal with as is. Worse, if applied just before a diabetic drives, it would be as bad as paintballing their windshield on the highway, it's begging to get someone killed.

Re:Security (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about three weeks ago | (#47756155)

Between manufacturer avarice and customer stupidity I hold out very little hope; but it would warm my cold, black, shriveled, heart if somebody would standardize a key-fill interface (like the DS-101/DS-102 devices that the DoD has for connection to U-229 ports on communications gear and other things that need crypto keys; but actually remotely suitable for end users, unlike those systems) for dealing with this class of problems...

Right now, it seems like everything is either "Oh, totally wide open, maybe papered over with some pitiful little obfuscation attempt" or "So damn much asymmetric key crypto that you'll need to beg the vendor for permission to do anything"; but options are very, very, thin on the ground if you want something as secure as a mothership-bound lockdown device; but obedient to your crypto keys, not the ones burned in at the factory.

It's like the 'secure boot' controversy that erupted a while back. "Well, you can have Microsoft's keys and protection against certain types of OS tampering, or you can turn it off entirely(x86 only other restrictions may apply); but set your own root of trust? Ha!"

i-limb software (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755813)

According to the user manual for i-limb,

To make changes to the limb, it either requires loading the software on a pc with blue-tooth or getting an ipod touch setup by i-limb.

Not a $75,000 loss by any means, sounds like the factory has to set up the ipod touch though. It is a pain in the rump, but most robberies are.

does i-limb make you use them so they can bill (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about three weeks ago | (#47756067)

does i-limb make you use them so they can bill the VA, medicare disability, ETC say $200-$500 to pair an bluetooth device?

Bricked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755817)

So the arm is totally unresponsive now and won't interface with a computer until somebody desolders and replaces a corrupted EEPROM/BIOS chip or some such? Wow, that is a bad design. Or maybe the submitter doesn't know what "bricked" means.

You're holding it wrong!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755825)

Sorry, it had to be said.

If actually stolen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755835)

the person who did steal it should receive 100 lashes and 1 year hard labour. Let's end the BS punishment routines and start getting down to brass tacks.

Re:If actually stolen... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about three weeks ago | (#47756041)

Or pay 3x restitution on the retail value of the item stolen, and subject the engineer who designed such a foolish interface requirement to the 100 lashes and year of hard labor. That would seem a great deal more in line with the crime here.

Re:If actually stolen... (1)

koan (80826) | about three weeks ago | (#47756247)

100 lashes would kill a man.

One is forced to wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755839)

What is the legality of jail breaking/rooting your own prosthetic limb? This just really seems like something that should be a 5min fix and cost at most as much as replacing the iDevice in question. Much more than that makes me question the intent behind what seems to be intentional hobbling of the hard/software. Then again I guess this could always just be an unfortunate case of Hanlon's razor.

Either way it I hope he gets a quick replacement and that the insurance companies take a good long look into why exactly the fix for this is replacing the most expensive and not stolen/broken piece of equipment when the failure is with the least expensive tool in the chain. That is also the most prone to be stolen/broken.

Re:One is forced to wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755993)

Good comments, and I agree, but there should be no insurance companies to begin with. The goal is and always has been universal healthcare. Full stop. A for-profit company has zero business deciding the fate of one who served honourably.

Point out the obvious (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755841)

Shouldn't the app be an Android app?

Hmmmm?

Re:Point out the obvious (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about three weeks ago | (#47756135)

When you have medicare and or the VA paying then you can take a more useful / cheaper Android or you can buy a higher cost apple and get more markup out of it also makeing so that the end user can't buy there own and pair it on there own makes you use them for Replacement when it hits the end of it's battery life.

If only we had an better healthcare system that was not loaded with insane markup.

Re:Point out the obvious (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | about three weeks ago | (#47756523)

Woosh...

It just alARMing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755857)

People believe this story and comment on it ... Slashdot really ?

A Rebuild (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755887)

Even if this is true , it seems like they won't need to build a whole brand new prosthesis, rather, just replace the bits that were hardcoded to the iPod, right?

the story is wrong... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755891)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Prayers-and-Words-of-Hope-for-SGT-Ben-Eberle/265580916826243

have a look at his comment.

Bad UX, possibly good security (1)

bitslinger_42 (598584) | about three weeks ago | (#47755925)

While it's easy for me to see this as a bad design, it's also not much of a stretch to believe that this was a conscious choice. After all, if it were trivially easy to pair a wireless device with the prosthetic, it would be trivially easy to take control of the guy's hand (think "Stop hitting yourself!").

Is this bad for the user experience, particularly given it's predicated on an easily lost, easily broken, and frequently stolen device? Certainly. Is the UX of the lost/stolen device better than the UX of a compromised device? Perhaps not.

GM DID do that.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755929)

This is an intentionally bad design to generate revenue. Maybe GM should do this with car keys? "Oops, lost the keys to the corvette. Better buy a new one."

Lose both keys to your 1999+ Saab, and they have to replace the TWICE or CIM module for $2,000. Not sure what the cost is now that there are no Saab dealers...

mod up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47755943)

very sick and its The curtains flew under the GPL. the problems Troubles of those FreeBSD because back3ard and said another folder. 20 Product, BSD's problems that I've

Missing data? (1)

JavaNPerl (70318) | about three weeks ago | (#47755945)

I'm not familiar with the device, but the engineer in me want's to believe that no one would design a system with such an obvious weakness. I believe that it's more likely that the stolen iPod contains data which is tailored specifically to him and/or the prosthetic and it wasn't backed up properly.

At least (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about three weeks ago | (#47755999)

If he was using a Zune, no one would have stolen it.

the 4th possibility (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about three weeks ago | (#47756013)

This is what happens when Apple fanboys work anywhere.

Or number 4... (1)

djsmiley (752149) | about three weeks ago | (#47756019)

4. It's a security feature ( a bad one maybe but still) and it doesn't cost $75k to get it re-authenticated.

You've never lost your keys, have you? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about three weeks ago | (#47756021)

After getting a quote from the dealers to get a lost key replaced for all three cars on my keyring (which dissappeared), I wondered if it wouldn't just be cheaper to have the cars towed away and re-buy new ones. (The prices ranged from $150-$275 EACH to have them replaced)

Re:You've never lost your keys, have you? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47756307)

Hi, I'm a volunteer for The Math Foundation, the non-profit devoted to helping everyday people do math, because Math Is Hard(tm). After careful calculations, I have concluded that replacing all of your keys via the dealerships costs more than two orders of magnitude less than purchasing a new set of cars, which means you could purchase over 100 cars for the cost of a set of keys, on average. You can now safely take the "new keys" option with the assurance that it is the wiser financial path between the two, and you no longer have to lie awake at night wondering whether or not the "new cars" option would be cheaper.

Why'd he leave the iPod Touch in his truck though? (2)

King_TJ (85913) | about three weeks ago | (#47756075)

Does it seem odd to anyone else that he'd be fine with leaving the device in his truck's center console overnight that's required to make use of one of his arms?

"Pretty sure I won't come up with ANY need to use my other arm for the rest of the night.... Maybe I'll go fetch the controller tomorrow?"

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47756147)

As a European, I'm glad it happened. This criminal was in the business of killing women and children, and making the world unsafe for us Europeans. I wish all the american barbarians the worst possible fate. Ã nous la victoire!

Lack of backup (1)

14erCleaner (745600) | about three weeks ago | (#47756179)

From an alternative story [cultofmac.com] :

"[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."

So in fact, another ipod could work, but it has to be trained first. A good backup of the training data should allow a new ipod to be set up quickly, but it sounds like they didn't do that.

You wouldn't steal an arm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47756191)

Would you?

bogus (1)

koan (80826) | about three weeks ago | (#47756237)

Why would you make a $70,000 piece of equipment permanently dependent on a specific Ipod Touch?

$

You forgot #4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47756301)

3D print new set of prosthetics while you wait for 300$.

It's the future, right?

Apple, where's my ipod? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47756517)

As soon as it comes on the network, they should be able to find it.

I bet if Apple is interested, they could get the files from it as well.

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