Term: Dean Kamen's Robotic Prosthetic Arm


Description: Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, received a grant from DARPA to research prosthetic limbs. Inspired by Star Wars, Kamen and his company DEKA developed the "Luke" Arm, a robotic prosthetic arm controllable by various different methods. What sets the "Luke" Arm apart from its predecessors, is that it is designed to be modular, customizable, lightweight and self contained. It is designed to be worn for extended periods of time and is designed with the user in mind. The arm currently offers 14 degrees of movement, but Kamen hopes to increase this number over time.
Kamen acknowledges that few people would need the arm, as only about 6000 prosthetic arms are ordered each year, but with disabled soldiers returning from the Iraqi War, the need is escalating. The current price tag for the "Luke" Arm is about $100,000.
Kamen is currently readying the arm for clinical testing for the FDA

Applications: The "Luke" Arm is advancing how robotics work for human beings. By developing a customizable, easy to repair prosthetic that can integrate with nerve controllers, the patient using the arm would have a reduced learning curve, as it is designed to work like the limb that they lost. Also, by mass producing many parts for the arm, it become much more affordable than other prostheses.

Web Resources:
http://www.engadget.com/2007/05/20/dean-kamens-robotic-prosthetic-arm-gets-detailed-on-video/
http://hackaday.com/2009/09/30/dean-kamens-prosthetic-arm/
http://www.dekaresearch.com/index.shtml
http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/bionics/dean-kamens-luke-arm-prosthesis-readies-for-clinical-trials

Related Terminology:
Microcontroller
DARPA


Citations/References:
http://www.masshightech.com/blog/2009/09/21/dean-kamen-demonstrates-robotic-prosthetic-deka-arm-on-60-minutes/
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2008/05/dean-kamens-rob/

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