FDA approves first EMG-controlled prostheses

The FDA announced marketing approval of the DEKA Arm System, the first prosthetic arm that performs multiple, simultaneous powered movements controlled by electrical signals from electromyogram electrodes.

According to a FDA news release, the electromyogram electrodes in the DEKA Arm System convert electrical signals up to 10 powered movements. The DEKA Arm System also contains a combination of mechanisms, including switches, movement sensors and force sensors, that cause the prosthesis to move, and is the same shape and weight as an adult arm. Manufactured by DEKA Integrated Solutions, the DEKA Arm System can be configured for people with limb loss occurring at the shoulder joint, mid-upper arm or mid-lower arm. However, it cannot be configured for limb loss at the elbow or wrist joint.

“This innovative prosthesis provides a new option for people with certain kinds of arm amputations,” Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, stated. “The DEKA Arm System may allow some people to perform more complex tasks than they can with current prostheses in a way that more closely resembles the natural motion of the arm.”

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