12 Days of Techmas: Day 12 is the DEKA Arm

December 23, 2014

Our 12 Days of #Techmas has covered a lot of awesome gadgets, but our final day features a device that seems like it is straight out of the future — the DEKA arm.

The DEKA arm, also known as the “Luke” arm (after the Star Wars character Luke Skywalker), was recently approved for market by the Food and Drug Administration. The arm is a project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and allows the wearer to control the prosthetic with electrical signals prompted by the contraction of muscle where the arm is attached.

Because the device uses electrical signals that trigger electrodes for movement, the user is able to perform multiple, simultaneous powered movements that more closely resemble natural arm and hand movement, as opposed to current body-powered prosthetics like the split-hook device.

Sealevel team member Wallace Krebs was recently invited to Tampa, Florida, to be a participant in the DEKA arm studies. Using wireless signals generated by sensors attached to his feet, Wallace is able to control the individual fingers and wrist, allowing him to perform a variety of diverse movements, such as picking up a water bottle or paper clip. He is currently testing the arm while on vacation in Florida, visiting Disney World, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot.

Wallace, with the Abraham Lincoln Audio-Animatronics figure, at Disney
Wallace with the Abraham Lincoln Audio-Animatronics figure at Disney

What other gadgets would you add to the 12 Days of #Techmas list? Follow us on Twitter and let us know!