DARPA's LUKE Robotic Arm Will Attach Itself First To War Veterans Before Going Commercial
DARPA is well known for creating robots and other cool things for the American military, and there is no end in sight. The company is preparing to put into production its LUKE bionic arm, a robotic device that has been in development for the last eight years.
This interesting bionic limb will eventually make it to the commercial market, but DARPA wants to allow war veterans to be among the first to use it. This isn't much of a surprise seeing as many war veterans leave the battlefield with missing limbs and other issues that cannot be easily fixed with a few stitches.
Furthermore, by going this route, DARPA can test run LUKE before making it available to the wider public.
"The commercial production and availability of these remarkable arms for patients marks a major milestone in the RP program and, most importantly, an opportunity for our wounded warriors to enjoy a major enhancement in their quality of life," according to Justin Sanchez, director of DARPA's Biological Technologies Office. "And we are not stopping here."
LUKE Is Brainchild Of Dean Kamen
Who is Dean Kamen, you ask? He's the creator of the Segway, that thing that is both loved and hated by many. Now, for those who are wondering, LUKE stands for Life Under Kinetic Evolution. However, that's not the only reason for the name. It's also based on Luke Skywalker, the main hero of the early Star Wars movies who ended up losing an arm and needed to wear a robotic one.
Not every day a father decides to chop off the arm of his own son. Skywalker is just one of the unlucky few.
How Does LUKE Work
This prosthetic arm is pretty smart, as it's capable of understanding multiple commands one at a time, which allows it to move naturally. We understand that in the early testing phase, folks were able to use LUKE to open locks and brush hair, so no doubt this little robotic device can go on to improve the lives of those without arms.
DARPA's plan right now is to develop LUKE further to make it more lifelike. A tough task, but if anyone can do it, then it's DARPA.
In the future, we should have robotic limbs that perform similarly to the real thing. We say this because technology where prosthetic limbs are concerned have been improving steadily for quite some time and can only get better.
A world similar to Deus Ex is coming to fruition it would seem.