Veterans among the first to benefit from cutting-edge bionic arm

VA secretary Shulkin hosts demo of world’s most advanced commercial prosthesis


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The Life Under Kinetic Evolution (LUKE) arm  the world’s most advanced commercial prosthetic  is about to change the lives of Veterans and others with upper arm amputations.

Unlike less-advanced prosthetics, the entire LUKE arm can move as one unit, reducing the labor-intensive process of controlling one joint at a time. The LUKE arm also features the first commercially available powered shoulder, with up to 10 powered degrees of freedom.

Dr. David Shulkin and Army Veteran Fred Downs show the hosts of CNN’s New Day the new LUKE Arm.

On Friday, VA secretary Dr. David Shulkin and Army Veteran Fred Downs showed the LUKE arm to morning news programs, including Fox & Friends and New Day, prior to an event at the VA New York Harbor Health Care System in Manhattan. Downs, who served as an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam, was injured in combat and had his left arm amputated above the elbow. The Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient was formerly the national director for VA’s prosthetic and sensory aids services and is now a consultant for Paralyzed Veterans of America.

“This is why the VA exists,” Shulkin explained on CNN’s New Day hosts, “to bring the very best technology to Veterans.”

Downs added during the interview that the development of the LUKE arm is one example of how VA invests “in technology to help Veterans that ends up helping civilians.”

During his visit to VA’s Manhattan campus, Shulkin will meet with the first Veterans to receive the LUKE Arm, attend a live demonstration of the prosthesis and meet with the researchers involved in the development of the project.

Development of the LUKE Arm™ (formerly DEKA Arm) was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Revolutionizing Prosthetics program. As the clinical research partner with DARPA, VA contributed several million dollars and eight years of research participating in the development of this prosthetic arm.

During the research phase, VA developed clinical sites for evaluating, training and issuing the LUKE Arm™ prosthesis for Veterans with upper limb amputations. VA New York Harbor Health Care System was the primary site for “VA Study to Optimize the DEKA Arm” (2009-2012) and “Home Study of an Advanced Upper Limb Prosthesis” (2012-2016).

Author

Megan Moloney

— Megan joined VA in May 2013. She is the daughter, granddaughter and spouse of Army and Navy Veterans who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Comments

  1. Edgar S Young    

    It would have been nice to have seen it in action.

    1. William Hyer    

      I was thinking the same thing! Where is the image or graphic of this amazing prosthetic? The talk show rounds are for restoring our confidence in the VA under Shulkin’s new leadership, right? Maybe they are trying the curiosity approach, a proven sales technique.

  2. Charlene Scott    

    Loving what you are doing.
    Charlene

  3. Clark w. Lemons    

    I’m a usmc vet with a above elbow amputation. I didn’t think they would ever get the arm prosthetic functional for normal life situations. I gety medical service at the Kansas City va. Hope to get that research here. Thanks for article. Clark w. Lemons

  4. Cindy Lawrence    

    How about a bionic kidney? Nanotechnology has made this possible and it is in the works now. The scientists and inventor said it’s about 2 years away from being available on the open market so why doesn’t the VA check in to this. So many veterans on dialysis usually die before they get donor kidneys and the medical costs are astronomical.
    So, let’s see about saving lives and money!
    Cindy Lawrence

Comments are closed.