Tuesday, June 2, 2009
"Luke" Arm Begins Widespread Testing Among Veterans
Dean Kamen's ground-breaking prosthetic enters large-scale military trial
The foot-controlled "Luke" prosthetic arm may not win any lightsaber fights, but it could soon lend a helping hand to wounded warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. A three-year study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is slated to provide engineering feedback before widespread distribution to veterans, according to an announcement last week.
The prosthetic arm is the brainchild of Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and founder of DEKA Research and Development. DEKA has fine-tuned a control system that acts like a foot-operated joystick -- users maneuver the arm by shifting pressure to different parts of a shoe embedded with an array of sensors. Future wireless versions may circumvent the wires that currently relay signals from shoe to arm.
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