Dean Kamen is famous for inventing the Segway, which is a fascinating piece of technology and an embarrassing transportation option, and for owning his own hyper-modern island and for commuting to said island in a kitted-out copter, but what makes the guy remarkable is his relentless output. Kamen always has a project. And his latest project (to find its way on to YouTube anyway) is a prosthetic arm created by his company DEKA Research and Development. A project pursued with help from DARPA, Kamen’s arm was never a secret. He’s been talking about the need for better prosthetics for years. What’s remarkable is how close he apparently is to realizing his vision.
In 2008, his arm was impressively mobile, but undeniably robotic.
Today, it moves almost seamlessly (which is presumably why the FDA greenlit it last year). Though the fingers appear to be somewhat hard to manipulate, the arm, well, extremely arm-like. That’s good news for both veterans and society at large. Sure, we all want to keep our original limbs, but it’s good to know that Kamen has our backs if that doesn’t work out. It’s doubly reassuring that he might literally be able to make us new backs.