Amputee Veterans receive first Mobius Bionics LUKE Arms

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Fred Downs, recipient of a Mobius Bionics LUKE Arm./Courtesy Photo

MANCHESTER, NH – Mobius Bionics LLC is proud to announce that the first two LUKE prosthetic arms have been provided to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for prescription to veterans.

The LUKE arm provides advanced features and capabilities including state-of-the-art flexibility, strength, and dexterity. It allows greater independence for people with forearm through shoulder-level amputations. Mobius Bionics is now manufacturing and distributing the LUKE arm for the military, veteran and civilian markets. 

The LUKE arm was developed by DEKA Research & Development Corp. with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to meet the needs of wounded warfighters returning from military conflicts, providing them increased capabilities that allow them to maintain independence. The LUKE arm is the first arm cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a fully integrated prosthetic arm for amputees across a range of levels of amputation, including shoulder-level, above-elbow, and below-elbow. The shoulder-level configuration includes the first commercially available powered shoulder, enabling its users to reach above their heads or behind their backs, and pick up a bag of groceries or pour a glass of milk for themselves, often for the first time since they lost their arm. It provides a robust and durable solution for amputees whether active military, veteran, or civilian.

The VA is prescribing the LUKE arms so that amputee veterans can regain the independence and capability that they lost during their military service.

The First Recipients

Fred Downs is a prosthetics consultant for the Paralyzed Veterans of America and retired Chief Procurement and Logistics Officer for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). He lost his left arm above the elbow during the Vietnam War to a “Bouncing Betty” land mine while on maneuvers. He became director of the Veterans Affairs’ Prosthetics and Sensory Aids Service in 1980, serving in that capacity until 2012, and has continually advocated for prosthetic treatments for veterans, including participating in the clinical trials during the development of the LUKE arm.

After participating in multiple clinical trials, Mr. Downs chose to receive the LUKE arm from the VA. His LUKE arm is mounted on a custom-fit, sophisticated interface socket created by Matt Albuquerque of Next Step Bionics and Prosthetics of Manchester, N.H., who was instrumental in fitting arms to patients during the LUKE clinical trials.

“This technology is the most significant advancement in upper-limb prosthetics in decades. It’s a wonderful feeling to see it being deployed to veterans, and I’m honored to be one of the early recipients,” Downs said.

Army veteran Artie McAuley lost his arm in an accident while stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y., and did not use a prosthesis for many years because earlier options available to shoulder-level amputees did not provide enough functionality. Artie was one of many LUKE clinical study participants who expressed a desire to use the LUKE arm after the study, and has been fit by prosthetists at the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System with a full powered-shoulder configuration LUKE arm. “I’m excited to be a part of this program, not only because the LUKE arm helps me do much more for myself, but also because I want to help move this important program forward,” McAuley said.

The LUKE arm enables users to perform a greater range of daily living activities than other prosthetic arms because it offers more range of motion through multiple motors integrated into each section. Users can control the LUKE arm through a wide variety of schemes including traditional electrode sensors and pattern recognition systems that interpret residual nerve signals into intended movements of the arm. These initial veterans have both chosen to use the exclusive inertial measurement unit-based foot controls, which allow users to intuitively control the arm’s movements.

Previously called the DEKA arm, the LUKE arm is the result of years of research, development, and optimization, informed by testing by more than 100 amputees in over 10,000 hours of use. DEKA was started by Dean Kamen in 1982, and is dedicated to changing lives through innovative new technologies. DEKA has developed products in robotics, mobility, prosthetics, and energy generation, and has more than three decades of experience in the field of fluid control and delivery, ranging from water purification to home dialysis.

“The VA has been a critically important partner to DARPA and DEKA in the testing and refinement of the most advanced prosthetic technology available, and we are excited that the VA is now helping Mobius Bionics to bring the LUKE arm to its first prescription users. Because of the unwavering support of DARPA, the LUKE arm is now available to everyone who needs it, especially those who lost an arm in military service to our country,” said Dean Kamen, President of DEKA.

Anyone interested in receiving the LUKE arm or in learning more may contact Mobius Bionics at info@mobiusbionics.com.


About Mobius Bionics LLC

Mobius Bionics is a medical device company focused on bringing advanced prosthetic technologies such as the LUKE arm to upper-limb amputees. Fueled by decades of research-driven product development, the Mobius Bionics team brings together extensive experience in delivering pioneering medical technologies to market.