Terrific news. After eight years of research and testing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the DEKA arm, a prosthetic controlled by signals from the brain. The DEKA can perform such delicate tasks as zipping up a coat, unlocking a door with a key or handling an egg without breaking it. The prosthetic arm that can perform multiple, simultaneous movements via electromyogram electrodes, which detect electrical signals from the contraction of muscles close to where the prosthesis is attached. The battery-powered arm is about the size and weight of a natural limb and has six different grips. A computer in the device can tell what type of movement its wearer wants to make.
The DEKA bionic arm can be configured for people with limb loss at the shoulder joint, mid upper arm or mid lower arm, the FDA said. It cannot be fitted for someone whose arm was amputated at the elbow or wrist.
The device was developed by DEKA Integrated Solutions in Manchester, New Hampshire. FDA approval means that DEKA can now legally market and sell the bionic arm in the United States. Funded by DARPA, the research branch of the Pentagon, the DEKA project was overseen by Dean Kamen, who invented the Segway personal vehicle.