FDA Approves Robotic Arm Developed by DEKA

On Friday, May 9, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first prosthetic arm developed by DEKA and funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

"This innovative prosthesis provides a new option for people with certain kinds of arm amputations," said Ms. Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. According to DEKA, the robotic arm "Luke," named after the Star Wars character Luke Skywalker, intends to restore functionality for individuals with upper extremity amputations.

In January 2014, MD Buyline recognized DEKA as a vendor with an emerging technology in the neuro interface/brain computer interface space. As part of its annual "Top 10 Emerging Technology Opportunities" report, MD Buyline provided clinical and financial insight to healthcare executives and clinicians about technological breakthroughs, including prosthetic limbs. Co-authored by Mr. James Laskaris, emerging technology analyst at MD Buyline, and Ms. Katie Regan, clinical publishing manager at MD Buyline, the article was published by HFMA in a two-part series.

"In recent years, government funding through DARPA has allowed neurologic interfaces and prosthetic limbs to rapidly move through clinical trials, which gives hope to the near two million Americans, like military veterans, living with limb loss," said Ms. Regan.

"Current prosthetic arms offer limited mobility, lack tactile feedback and require up to 30% more energy. A major improvement for patients, the DEKA Arm System will act very close to a natural arm, offering the ability to grasp objects big and small," said Mr. Laskaris.

"The DEKA Arm System 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," said Ms. Foreman.

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