Page 32

Artificial Limb

Replacement: Reaching Ahead

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on the development of a bi-directional solution to prosthetic arm replacement that could set the standard for current and future research.

covers since for the last 100 years people have mostly worn hooks. DARPA’s program offers arms with five naturalsized fingers, much better even if they are mechanical in appearance. The program was called Revolutionizing Prosthetics because the goal was to replace what is currently the most successful upper extremity prosthetic, which is a body-powered split-hook design that was patented in 1912,” said Army Colonel Geoffrey Ling, program manager for DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics program.

By Rick Spearman, DARPA Public Affairs

DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics program began in 2006 with the goal of creating two prosthetic arm systems: one that leveraged off-the-shelf technology and could be controlled with techniques that didn’t require surgery; the other, an arm system with expanded functionality and the ability to be controlled by signals directly from the brain.

Col. Geoffrey Ling

From Humble Roots From the beginning, the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program set out to create an entirely new system that included sockets, limbs, and control techniques. Cosmetic covers have even been developed, but early volunteers have suggested they would be satisfied to use the limb without

30 | Combat & Casualty Care | Q3 2011

DARPA set out to provide increased range of motion, dexterous fingers, and more comfortable sockets so users would be encouraged to make more use of their prosthesis.


“In the past, users would get discouraged when sockets became uncomfortable due to heat buildup or slippage. At times, skin breakdown was even an issue with conventional sockets,” Ling noted.

Combat & Casualty Care, Q3 2011  

Combat & Casualty Care, Q3 2011

Combat & Casualty Care, Q3 2011  

Combat & Casualty Care, Q3 2011