Office of Research & Development

print icon sign up for VA Research updates
VA RESEARCH QUARTERLY UPDATE
 

Noteworthy Publications

Do Veterans like the DEKA arm?


    Fred Downs Jr., former chief of prosthetics and sensory aids for VA, wears the DEKA prosthetic arm as he shares a
Fred Downs Jr., former chief of prosthetics and sensory aids for VA, wears the DEKA prosthetic arm as he shares a "fist bump" with Col. Geoffrey Ling of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency during National VA Research Week 2012. (Photo by Emerson Sanders)

Fred Downs Jr., former chief of prosthetics and sensory aids for VA, wears the DEKA prosthetic arm as he shares a "fist bump" with Col. Geoffrey Ling of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency during National VA Research Week 2012. (Photo by Emerson Sanders)

Twenty-two percent of new military amputees have upper-limb amputations. To meet their needs, the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) worked with DEKA Research and Development Corporation to develop the DEKA arm.

The lightweight arm enables amputees to perform a range of tasks, from picking up a key to using a power drill. It has pre-programmed grip levels in its hand segment, and allows users to raise, twist, and bend their arm almost as they would their natural limb.

The DEKA arm was initially tested and refined in a multiyear, multisite, VA-funded study. In the most recent report from that study, led by Linda Resnik, PT, PhD, of the Providence VA Medical Center, 24 upper-limb amputees were fitted with a second-generation (Gen 2) DEKA arm and 13 were fitted with a third-generation (Gen 3) arm, and were surveyed about their experiences after being trained on its use.

In all, 79 percent of Gen 2 and 85 percent of Gen 3 users indicated that they either wanted to receive, or might want to receive, a DEKA arm. In addition, 95 percent of Gen 2 users and 91 percent of Gen 3 users indicated that they were able to perform new activities they had been unable to perform with their own prosthetic device. (Prosthetics and Orthotics International, published online Nov. 28, 2013)


Questions about the R&D website? Email the Web Team.

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.