Bionic Prosthetic Arm Approved

Helps amputees perform complex tasks by using signals from nearby muscles

FRIDAY, May 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The DEKA Arm System, which reacts like a human arm via electrodes when nearby muscles are contracted, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The device, about the same size and weight as a human arm, allows most people who have lost all or part of an arm to perform complex tasks such as using keys and locks, preparing and eating food, using zippers and brushing the hair, the agency said Friday in a news release.

The device was clinically tested in a Department of Veterans Affairs study involving 36 people. About 90 percent of participants were able to complete tasks that were not possible with a current prosthesis, the FDA said.

The device can be configured to suit many types of amputation, although it cannot be used by people with limb loss at the elbow or wrist, the agency said.

The DEKA Arm System is produced by DEKA Integrated Solutions, based in Manchester, N.H.

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