The first prosthetic to get FDA approval is just the start of being able to fully function even if you are an amputee and have prosthetic limbs. To no surprise, the company that designed this invention was founded by Dean Kamen. If you do not recognize his name, maybe the term “Segway” will ring your bell. He is the inventor of the Segway, that two wheeled self-balancing scooter type machine that tourists often use for sightseeing tours.
According to their website, DARPA launched the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program with a radical goal: gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for an advanced electromechanical prosthetic upper limb with near-natural control that enhances independence and improves quality of life for amputees. Today, less than eight years after the effort was launched, that dream is a reality; the FDA approved the DEKA Arm System.
— DARPA (@DARPA) May 10, 2014
This new prosthetic arm nicknamed “Luke”, based on the Luke Skywalker character from “Star Wars” who got his arm cut off in a light saber duel with Darth Vader. The DEKA Arm system allows for simultaneous control of multiple joints using a variety of input devices including wireless signals generated by innovative sensors on the user’s feet. The battery-powered arm system is of similar size and weight to a natural limb and has six user-selectable grips.
Technology has sure moved a long way since basic hooks and peg legs. We can now walk, run, jump without even the slightest hesitation of not having natural movement. This new arm will not only allow wearers to do the everyday things they used to before like picking up food, and grabbing items, but it will feel like nothing was ever lost.
View the DEKA Arm in action below.