After years of research and testing, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a “Star Wars”-style robotic arm for amputees which can be controlled by signals from the brain.
Technology breakthrough for amputees
Unlike most prostheses currently in use, the DEKA arm can perform multiple, simultaneous movements such as picking up a coin or unlocking a door with a key.
The battery-powered arm is about the size and weight of a natural limb.
‘A new option for people’
The DEKA project was overseen by Dean Kamen who developed the Segway. He named the arm “Luke” after “Star Wars” character Luke Skywalker who was fitted for a prosthetic after losing his right hand.
“This innovative prosthesis provides a new option for people with certain kinds of arm amputations,” said Christy Foreman, director of the FDA’s Office of Device Evaluation, in a statement.
The DEKA arm “may allow some people to perform more complex tasks than they can with current prostheses in a way that more closely resembles the natural motion of the arm.”