Advanced prosthetic arm is approved for US market

May 9, 2014

US regulators on Friday approved for market a new kind of prosthetic arm that allows a person to flex certain muscles in order to perform complex tasks.

The development of the DEKA Arm System—nicknamed the "Luke" arm after Luke Skywalker in Star Wars—was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Tests on 36 US military veterans who had lost their lower arms showed that 90 percent found the robotic device allowed them to do tasks they could not with their current prosthetics, including using keys and locks, making food, feeding themselves, using zippers and brushing their hair.

"This innovative prosthesis provides a new option for people with certain kinds of arm amputations," said Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the Food and Drug Administration.

"The DEKA Arm System may allow some people to perform more than they can with current prostheses in a way that more closely resembles the natural motion of the arm."

However, it does not return any sensation to the wearer, an attribute that recent research on other prosthetics has shown may be possible.

The DEKA Arm System is controlled by electrical signals from electromyogram (EMG) electrodes, which detect muscle contraction close to the area where the prosthesis is attached.

"The electrodes send the to a computer processor in the prosthesis that translates them to a specific movement or movements," the FDA said.

The signals allow the arm to make 10 different powered movements.

The black and silver prosthetic is the same shape and weight as a human arm, and is manufactured by DEKA Integrated Solutions in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Explore further: World premiere of muscle- and nerve-controlled arm prosthesis

Related Stories

Researchers develop ultramodern forearm prosthesis

February 12, 2014

Researchers of the University of Twente (UT) and Roessingh Research and Development (RRD) have developed a system which can significantly improve the functionality of forearm prostheses. Using the activity still present in ...

Recommended for you

Bright lighting encourages healthy food choices

May 26, 2016

Dining in dimly lit restaurants has been linked to eating slowly and ultimately eating less than in brighter restaurants, but does lighting also impact how healthfully we order?

Big Data can save lives, says leading cancer expert

May 16, 2016

The sharing of genetic information from millions of cancer patients around the world could be key to revolutionising cancer prevention and care, according to a leading cancer expert from Queen's University Belfast.

New soap to ward off malaria carrying mosquitoes

May 13, 2016

(Medical Xpress)—Gérard Niyondiko along with colleagues Frank Langevin and Lisa Barutel has posted a project on the crowd source funding site ulule for a product called Faso Soap. They claim the soap can cut in half the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.