Mobius Bionics has delivered its first two prescription LUKE prosthetic arms to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, for a pair of veterans who had participated in the device’s clinical trials, according to a press release.
“The LUKE arm provides advanced features and capabilities including state-of-the-art flexibility, strength and dexterity,” according to a press release. “It allows greater independence for people with forearm through shoulder-level amputations. Mobius Bionics is now manufacturing and distributing the LUKE arm for the military, veteran and civilian markets.”
, a prosthetics consultant for the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and a retired chief procurement and logistics officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will be one of the first recipients of the LUKE arm.
According to the release, Downs lost his left arm above the elbow while he was serving in the Vietnam War, due to a landmine he encountered while on maneuvers. He opted to receive the LUKE arm after participating in multiple clinical trials. The device is mounted on a custom-fit interface socket created by Matt Albuquerque, of Next Step Bionics and Prosthetics, in Manchester, N.H.
“This technology is the most significant advancement in upper-limb prosthetics in decades,” Downs said in the release. “It is a wonderful feeling to see it being deployed to veterans, and I am honored to be one of the early recipients.”
The other recipient, Artie McAuley, is a U.S. Army veteran who lost his arm in an accident while stationed at Fort Drum. He had been one of many LUKE clinical trial participants who asked to use the arm following the study, the release noted. His device, a powered-shoulder configuration of the LUKE arm, has been fitted by prosthetists at the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System.
“I am excited to be a part of this program, not only because the LUKE arm helps me do much more for myself, but also because I want to help move this important program forward,” McAuley said in the release release.
The LUKE arm was developed by DEKA Research and Development, with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). According to Mobius, it is the first arm approved by the FDA as a fully-integrated prosthetic for amputees across a range of needs, including shoulder-level, above-elbow and below-elbow. At the shoulder level, it is the first commercially available powered shoulder that allows users to reach above their head and behind their back, according to the release.
The LUKE arm, which features multiple motors integrated into each section of the device, can be controlled through a variety of ways, including traditional electrode sensors and pattern recognition systems, which interpret residual nerve signals and translate them into movement. Downs and McAuley have opted to use the inertial measurement unit-based foot controls, which allow users to intuitively control the arm’s movements, according to the release.