‘DEKA’ Prosthetic Arm

DEKA is a prosthetic arm able to perform multiple simultaneous powered movements, developed by Dean Kamen, the invetor of Segway. It was approved by the FDA, clearing it for sale to serve those in need.


The arm has 14 degrees of freedom out of the regular 21, and can rotate all the degrees of freedom in the hand and wrist.  It’s made small enough to be put on anyone.

To make it, an individual’s functioning arm goes inside a machine similar to CAT scans or MRIs to make silicon rubber to coat the underlying technology. A mirror image of the limb is painted in 3D over the coat and applied.

Working with a team of 20, Dean put together a working prototype for the Department of Defense who spurred the research to offer better options to the injured returning veterans. You can watch Dean preview the prosthetic arm at this TED conference. The video shows how the fingers can lift weight, scratch a nose, use a pen or pick up a piece of paper.