The FDA has approved a robotic hand / arm that can perform up to 10 separate complex functions, including allowing a handicapped person to use keys and zippers.
The FDA on May 9 approved sales of a prosthetic hand made by private New Hampshire company DEKA, which was founded by Segway creator Dean Kamen. The robotic prosthetic weighs and looks like an adult human hand, and is controlled by the user's thoughts. (Video)
The hand has an onboard computer which interprets the signals being detected by electromyogram (EMG) electrodes placed at the end of the natural arm. DEKA has nicknamed the hand "Luke" after "Star Wars" character Luke Skywalker, who has a robotic hand.
"90% of study participants were able to perform activities with the DEKA Arm System that they were not able to perform with their current prosthesis, such as using keys and locks, preparing food, feeding oneself, using zippers, and brushing and combing hair." FDA statement
The prosthetic will not be available until DEKA finds a manufacturing partner to mass produce the device. No pricing has been given for the modular prosthetic, which can be extended to reach a full arm length, up to the shoulder, depending on the patient's amputation.
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