DEKA Arm Approved by FDA for Market Sale

July 26, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. prosthetic /prɒsˈθɛt ɪk/  (adj.) – referring to an artificial device used to replace a missing body part
ExampleProsthetic legs allow the amputees to walk almost normally.

2. amputee /ˌæm pyʊˈti/ (n.) – a person whose arm or leg has been removed
Example: Some soldiers in the World War II are now amputees.

3. activate /ˈæk təˌveɪt/ (v.) – to set something in motion
Example: The fitness coach instructed him to activate his abdominal muscles while exercising.

4. resemble /rɪˈzɛm bəl/ (v.) – to  share common qualities with someone or something
Example: She completely resembles her mother.

5. mass-produce /ˈmæs prəˈdus, -ˈdyus/ (v.) – to create a product in a large amount, especially in a factory
Example: China mass-produces products and sells them for cheaper prices.


Read the text below.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an advanced prosthetic arm for commercial sale.

This new device produced by DEKA was designed for amputees who lost the mid-upper or mid-lower part of their arms. The DEKA prosthetic arm, called “Luke,” was named after the fictional character Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars movie franchise. He had to use a prosthetic hand after losing his right limb while battling his father.

The FDA gave permission to DEKA to commercially sell the product after studying clinical data about the device. The data include the results of a study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The study showed that the DEKA Arm enabled 32 out of the 36 participants to perform complex activities such as preparing food, using locks and keys, brushing the hair, using zippers, and feeding themselves.

The DEKA Arm uses electromyogram (EMG) electrodes that send signals from the muscle area where the prosthetic arm is attached. The electrical signals are sent to a computer processor that instructs the device to make certain movements. The DEKA Arm can perform up to 10 movements.

Matt Albuquerque [AL-buh-kur-kee], president of Next Step Bionics and Prosthetics Inc., said that the device works accordingly as the amputee activates the muscles responsible for arm and finger movements.

Christy Foreman, a staff from FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said that the DEKA Arm will allow users to perform complex movements that closely resemble the natural motions of a real arm.

The price of the artificial arm will be determined once DEKA finds a partner to mass-produce it. 

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think the DEKA Arm is a good invention? Why or why not?
·         Do you think this invention can also be useful in your country? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Aside from using artificial limbs, what are other ways that can help amputees with their daily tasks??
·         What does your government do to help amputees?

July 26, 2014