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FDA approves 'Star Wars' robotic arm for amputees

Monday, May 12, 2014 - 01:03

May 12 - 'Star Wars' robotic arm, developed in part by the Pentagon for its amputee veterans, earns FDA approval. Mana Rabiee reports.

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This Vietnam veteran is on the forefront of prosthetic science. He's a trial subject for a robotic arm that lets amputees perform complex tasks; tasks that would have been difficult or impossible to do until now. SOUNDBITE: ROBOTIC ARM TEST SUBJECT SWEEPING A BROOM AND SAYING: "This is so nice, a nice, smooth, it works well for me." The Food and Drug Administration approved sales of the DEKA prosthetic arm system on Monday. It was funded in part by the Pentagon to improve prosthetics for wounded vets. The FDA calls it the first prosthetic arm to perform complex movements controlled by electrodes. Those electrodes detect electrical activity when a person contracts muscles. They send signals to a computer processor in the arm, and the computer can then perform up to 10 specific movements using a combination of switches and sensors. The FDA says 90 percent of people who used the DEKA arm in a study were able to do routine but complex tasks most people would take for granted. Things as everyday as using keys, feeding themselves, using zippers, and combing their hair.

FDA approves 'Star Wars' robotic arm for amputees

Monday, May 12, 2014 - 01:03

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