DARPA, the mad scientist arm of the Defense Department, is working with research institutions to create a bionic arm that is on par with the real thing ... by 2009. While not quite there yet, the newest creation by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory is pretty amazing: it allows its owner comlete control over all fingers, to feel the sensation of grip through external electrodes, and to walk more naturally due to its ability to swing freely.
The next prototype is even neater - it will be stronger, faster, more flexible, and can sense temperature. It comes at a small price though - rather than external electrodes, the owner will need to have the device surgically connected to nerve endings.
Will the next Steve Austin, please stand up? Link [Popular Mechanics]