DARPA's DEKA robotic arm helped war veteran to climb again

DARPA Initiative : A war veteran climbed rock again using the artificial bionic limb created by DEKA

We all know that science has no limits but sometimes it manages to surpass even our most utopian expectations. A similar successful research from DARPA will help those people who have lost their limbs to work again with the help of artificially developed bionic arm.

The artificial bionic arm which is developed by DEKA is funded by Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  It is developed by Dean Kamen, who had created the Segway, and is a major breakthrough in the field of science and technology. The DEKA’s artificial bionic arm has enabled American war veterans regain the ability to go ROCK-CLIMBING.

The US Army veteran tried the DEKA arm at a climbing wall at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. The sophisticated electronic prosthetic limb allows the wearer to control multiple joints, move the fingers on the hand with precision and even get feedback on grip strength.

The wearer can control the electronic limb so precisely that it’s possible to drink from a bottle of water. This is typically a very challenging task due to the slipperiness of the vessel and the hand-eye co-ordination required. The robotic arm is capable of handling delicate and fragile objects such as grapes and eggs, manipulating power tools, but also providing the grip needed to climb up a wall.

The designed system uses electromyogram electrodes, which measure the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction, to read signals sent by muscles in the remaining part of the arm and shoulder, as well as wireless sensors on the wearer’s feet. DEKA and DARPA are looking into mind control for future versions of the system, bringing us ever closer to having a bionic arm that functions as perfectly as Luke Skywalker’s bionic hand in the later parts of the “Star Wars” series.

DEKA has received FDA approval for the concept that gave the company a much need boost to go-ahead and explore releasing the robotic arm commercially, though no commercial availability has yet been announced. So while it may be a while until you see technology like this in everyday life, as the videos in this story show, amputees may be one step closer to finding new possibilities like Skywalker.

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