Individuals who have lost their arms can now lead a normal life with the help of robotic arms and can carry on all tasks which were otherwise impossible with traditional prosthetics. The Food and Drug Administration, USA, has approved this robotic arm, also called the Deka arm. Electromyogram electrodes in the Deka arm get fixed to the muscles of the user and transmit signals which ultimately generate 10 distinct movements.
Manufactured by DEKA Integrated Solutions, the new system can be used for for people with limb loss from the shoulder joint, mid-upper arm or mid-lower arm. It cannot be used in place of limb lost at the elbow or wrist joint.
The battery-operated device has got its name from Deka Research team, founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen. The firm took eight years to come up with the final product.
The Deka arm can easily take on tasks such as zipping up a coat, unlocking a door with a key or handling an egg without breaking it.
The FDA reviewed a Department of Veterans Affairs study with 36 participants fitted with Deka arms. It was found that about 90 per cent of participants performed tasks which they were not able to do so with their current prosthesis, such as using keys and locks, preparing food, feeding themselves and brushing their hair.