Luke, FDA Has OKed Your 'Skywalker' Arm

Deka Research prosthetic appears pretty promising
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2014 2:34 PM CDT
Luke, FDA Has OKed Your 'Skywalker' Arm
Segway and DEKA Arm inventor Dean Kamen speaks at the Creative Problem Solving Institute on June 22, 2009.   (Photo: Business Wire)

Good news for the next time you end up minus a limb while fighting your long-lost father who abandoned you for the dark side: A new prosthetic arm nicknamed the "Luke arm" is about to hit the market that will give recipients enough dexterity to handle eggs, nevermind lightsabers, reports Mashable. The Deka Arm, which is the brainchild of Segway creator Dean Kamen and jointly funded by two military agencies with an eye on its applications among amputee veterans, just cleared a final FDA hurdle. It allows "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," says an FDA official.

"That's right," writes Adario Strange, "bionic limbs are about to go mainstream." The limb is powered by electromyogram electrodes connected to the muscles that allow for 10 different motions. And as the AFP reports, those motions are complex enough that 90% of 36 veterans who had lost their lower arms reported "using keys and locks, making food, feeding themselves, using zippers, and brushing their hair" with the new device—all tasks that are difficult or impossible with their current prosthetics. (More Deka Research stories.)

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