DARPA, the US Defense Department’s advanced research agency, has invested $40 million in Segway inventor Dean Kamen’s prosthetic device company. The result is the first ever FDA approved mind-controlled prosthetic limb called the DEKA Arm.
The device works by fitting the remaining portion of a patien’s limb with electromyogram electrodes whose sensors pick up electric signals from muscle movements in the upper arm. These movements are then interpreted by a computer housed inside a prosthetic arm, allowing the patient to maneuver the prosthetic limb and fingers in the manner he or she desires. With vibration feedback-enabled finger tips, a user can perform a variety of functions such as grabbing keys, pulling up zippers, and picking up fragile food items without breaking or squashing them.
Check out the following two videos featuring this device in action.