Dean Kamen’s prosthetic “Luke” arm

lunedì, febbraio 4th, 2008

Posted by David Pescovitz, February 1, 2008 10:58 AM



Dean "Segway" Kamen’s prosthetic "Luke" arm (as in Luke Skywalker) is
ready for clinical trials. It’s now up to DARPA, who funded the project
through the Revolutionizing Prosthetics contract, to determine whether
to foot the bill for human testing, and the FDA to approve the trials.
The new issue of IEEE Spectrum has a feature on the ready-to-wear Luke
arm. From the article:

DARPA director Tony Tether and Revolutionizing Prosthetics program
manager Colonel Geoffrey Ling approached him in 2005, Kamen says he
thought they were crazy—“in the good kind of way,” he says. There was
no financial incentive to create a next-generation prosthetic arm. The
research and development costs were enormous. Unless funded by DARPA,
no private company would take such a risk for such a comparatively
small market (in the Americas, about 6000 people require arm prostheses
each year). Kamen spent a few weeks traveling around the country
interviewing patients, doctors, and researchers to get an idea of the
current technology—and soon saw the deficit in available arm
prosthetics. He was swayed by the discrepancy between the current state
of leg prostheses and that of arm prostheses. “Prosthetic legs are in
the 21st century,” he says. “With prosthetic arms, we’re in the


Previously on BB:
• Sense of touch restored to amputees Link
• Open source prosthetics movement Link
• Bionic arm Link

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