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.
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).