The Battlefield V reveal trailer has had a divisive and controversial impact on those who viewed the trailer. There are comments pertaining to unrealistic battle scenarios, female soldiers, and soldiers of different races. A lot of these are buzz worthy topics that have been discussed lately, but there is one type of comment that I keep seeing that hasn’t been mentioned that often. The one that goes something like this: “Why is there a robot chick in this game?” “I guess this is a Steampunk game now with that lady with the robot arm.”

Because of comments like these, I thought that I would make a quick little history lesson in prosthetics for those confused by the “lady with the robot arm”.

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Prosthetics can be traced all the way back to the Egyptians and, thus, have made great strides since then. From small beginnings with simple replacement limbs that have no mechanical functionality all the way to where we are currently with flexible knees, fingers, and other functions powered by mechanical engineering that can help amputees somewhat return to their previous way of life (although we are not currently to a point where prosthetics are a 1:1 match with all of our natural limbs).

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This prosthetic was found on an Egyptian mummy and is from around 950-710BC.
Photo: BBC

I assume that those leaving comments about a “robot lady” are not informed well enough on prosthetics to know where they are currently in development as well as the great journey that they have taken to be as sophisticated as they are now. I for one do not know nearly enough about them, and this is, thankfully, due to the fact that prosthetics do not play a significant role in my personal life. Unfortunately, though, I have never really ventured into learning much about them until recently. And, I guess I can thank commenters on YouTube for this newfound knowledge.

As an odd coincidence, I also recently watched a video discussing prosthetics by Casey Neistat less than a week before the Battlefield V reveal trailer was released. In this video, Casey hangs out with a man (Paul) who was an Australian Navy diver who lost parts of his arm and leg from a shark attack. He discusses this experience as well as shows his prosthetic arm and leg. Both have differing levels of functionality with his hand being able to grip onto objects with varying levels of severity. Some of the things that he is able to do seem like they are out of a Terminator movie, but the fact is that prosthetics have come a very long way and appear to be closing in on providing a closer replacement for amputees.

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How does this relate to Battlefield V and prosthetics from the 1940s, then? What is amazing is that a moving mechanical limb is something that has existed for almost a century. A quick Google search of “1940s prosthetic hand” brought me to a BBC article showing the same exact prosthetic used by the female soldier in the trailer. This hand was able to grab on to objects by using...

wait for it...

carbon dioxide gas cylinders. Those tubes running up her arm are powering the hand and allowing it to open and close which should allow her to do the functions necessary with her left hand on the Battlefield such as holding onto her weapon, grabbing health or ammo, piloting a vehicle, and other actions. What some users are assuming is science fiction was an actual invention.

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Now, that isn’t to say that this worked perfectly or saw widespread releases to those in need of a device of this kind, but it does show that DICE isn’t just throwing in random robotic arms into this game. They do their research and add probable items that could potentially exist. And, as they have recently stated, they aren’t even going for realism. They could just add a robotic arm if they wanted to, but they were able to add something that actually existed. And, going forward, I wouldn’t be surprised if the game actually introduces crazy and wild weapons or items that were only ideas at the time of World War II similar to how a railgun and hovertank were added to Battlefield 4.

This recent surge of confused comments has inspired me to become more knowledgeable about a problem that so many people face. And, to those who are genuinely unsure if it is a robot hand, I completely understand the confusion. A prosthetic arm powered by carbon dioxide does sound a bit far fetched and in the realm of fantasy than an actual invention. And, to those who are genuinely rude or trolling in the comments, I am glad that I could use your negativity and turn it into learning more about real world problems and solutions.