WASHINGTON, May 9 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved marketing of the first powered prosthetic arm that can be operated through myoelectric signals according to a wearer's intention.
The prosthetic arm, called DEKA Arm System, "can perform multiple, simultaneous powered movements controlled by electrical signals from electromyogram (EMG) electrodes," the FDA said in a statement.
The electrodes detect electrical activities caused by the contraction of muscles close to where the prosthesis is attached, and a computer processor in the prosthesis translates them to specific movements, the U.S. regulator said.
The DEKA Arm System, the same shape and weight as an adult arm, can convert electrical signals into up to 10 powered movements, it said.
The device can be configured for people with limb loss occurring at the shoulder joint, mid-upper arm, or mid-lower arm, said the FDA. It cannot be configured for limb loss at the elbow or wrist joint.
"This innovative prosthesis provides a new option for people with certain kinds of arm amputations," Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said.
"The DEKA Arm System may allow some people to perform more complex tasks than they can with current prostheses in a way that more closely resembles the natural motion of the arm," Foreman said.
The FDA said it reviewed clinical information relating to the device, including a Department of Veterans Affairs study in which 36 patients provided data on how the arm performed in common household and self-care tasks.
The study found that about 90 percent of the participants were able to perform tasks with the DEKA Arm System that they were not able to perform with their current prosthesis, such as using keys and locks, preparing food, feeding oneself, using zippers, and brushing and combing hair, the regulator said.
The DEKA Arm System was manufactured by DEKA Integrated Solutions in Manchester, New Hampshire.