Even though Princess Leia has succumbed to her illness, the LUKE Arm, named after one of her most loyal warriors, is beginning to be distributed to wounded warriors from the U.S. military. Developed by Dean Kamen’s DEKA Integrated Solutions Corp. and manufactured by Mobius Bionics, with both companies based in Manchester, New Hampshire, the device is probably the most advanced arm prosthetic ever to be commercialized. Its development was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The LUKE Arm weighs about the same as the person’s original arm while being close to the real deal in size as well. It features six pre-programmed user-selectable hand grips, and the arm component permits moving multiple joints at the same time. The actual controllers that activate different movements can be any kind of input systems that best fit individual patients. These can be buttons, electrodes, or even wireless gizmos built into a pair of shoes.
The first production run of the arms is already being distributed to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center from where it can now be prescribed to wounded warriors.
Here’s a video released by DARPA to celebrate the occasion: