launched the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program in 2006, the state of
upper-limb prosthetic technology was far behind lower-limb technology.
Advancing upper-limb technology was judged to be a more difficult medical and
When DARPA launched the
Revolutionizing Prosthetics program in 2006, the state of upper-limb prosthetic
technology was far behind lower-limb technology. Advancing upper-limb
technology was judged to be a more difficult medical and engineering
After six years of development, the Revolutionizing
Prosthetics program developed two anthropomorphic advanced modular prototype
prosthetic arm systems, including sockets, which offer increased range of
motion, dexterity and control options.
Thirty-five volunteer amputees
participated in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funded optimization study
in VA and DoD medical centers and provided design feedback for the development
of the Gen-3 Arm System by DEKA Integrated Solutions Corporation, one of two
primary performers on the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program. Based on that
testing and subsequent refinement, DEKA submitted a 510(k) premarket
notification to the FDA in April 2012 seeking approval to make the Arm System
DARPA researchers have also attained promising
initial results on achieving brain control of an advanced arm system developed
by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, the second primary
performer on Revolutionizing Prosthetics. This work with tetraplegic volunteers
has demonstrated the potential to use advanced prostheses to improve the
quality of life for victims of paralysis.
Prosthetics program is ongoing and aims to continue increasing functionality
of the DARPA arm systems so servicemembers with arm loss may one day have the
option of choosing to return to duty. Additionally, the dexterous hand
capabilities developed under the program have already been applied to small
robotic systems used in manipulating unexploded ordnance, thus keeping
soldiers out of situations that have led to limb loss.