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  • 'Luke Skywalker' Arm Approved by FDA

    A robotic prosthetic arm that can allow users to perform a range of activities from manipulating keys to power tools has been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dubbed "Luke" after "Star Wars" character Luke Skywalker, the prosthesis is roughly the size, shape, and weight of a human arm and fingers, and is controlled through electrodes placed on muscles near where the arm is attached.

    According to a story from Reuters, the DEKA Arm System now available for sale allowed 90 percent of people using the device to handle small objects such as coins and zippers—in a video posted at phys.org, a study participant is shown picking up individual eggs and placing them in a carton. The prosthesis can be adapted for people with limb loss at the shoulder joint, mid-upper arm, or mid-lower arm, but it cannot be used for limb loss at the elbow or wrist joint.

    A recent press release from the FDA stated that the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) provided more than $40 million in funding for the project, overseen by DEKA Research and Development Corp. DEKA was founded by Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway.