In this piece from the IEEE special report on prosthetics we learn about Deka’s amazing noninvasive prosthetic arm. As noted earlier, DARPA gave $30.4 million to fund two projects for the next generation of prosthetic arms, one noninvasive and the other invasive. Deka is pursuing the noninvasive project which does not require any surgical access to anything inside the body such as nerves, muscles, or neurons.
Deka’s next generation prosthetic arm, called the Luke Arm (named in homage to the prosthetic arm used by Luke Skywalker in Star Wars) has overcome many of the signficant problems with the outdated prosthetic arms that are currently available. About the state of current prosthetic arms:
“…after the initial shock of amputation wears off, usually within a year or two, patients stop wearing their prostheses. Even extreme levels of amputation don’t much curb this tendency. Wearing the burdensome prosthetic is simply not justified by the small amount of assistance it provides…”
This accompanying video summarizes the project and is well worth your time!