Veterans starting to receive new prosthetic LUKE arms

By Richard Tomkins  |  July 6, 2017 at 12:39 PM
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July 6 (UPI) -- A public-private partnership has provided advanced prosthetic arms to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for amputee veterans.

The LUKE arm, formerly known as the DEKA arm, is marketed by Mobius Bionics LLC, the company said in a news release Wednesday. It allows greater independence for people with amputations between their forearms and shoulders.

The LUKE arm, with multiple motors integrated into each section of the device, uses a number of methods for operation, including traditional electrode sensors and pattern-recognition systems that use residual nerve signals to interpret a user's intended arm movements. In its shoulder-level configuration, the user can reach above their head or behind their back.

DEKA Research designed the prosthetic with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Among the first recipients of the system was Fred Downs, a prosthetics consultant for the Paralyzed Veterans of America and retired Chief Procurement and Logistics Officer for the Veterans Health Administration. Downs lost an arm above the elbow during the Vietnam War. His LUKE arm rests on a custom mount created by Matt Albuquerque of Next Step Bionics and Prosthetics of Manchester, N.H.

"This technology is the most significant advancement in upper-limb prosthetics in decades," Downs said in the release. "It's a wonderful feeling to see it being deployed to veterans, and I'm honored to be one of the early recipients."

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