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Podcast: DARPA and the DEKA Arm: 2009 Update

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View Podcast Online? Yes

Podcast length: 12 minutes 51 seconds

Podcast Description

A 12 minute segment from CBS 60 minutes news program, which tours inside DARPA, looking at the current state of the DEKA prosthetic arm project. Video is up to date as of 12th April 2009.

*Note: It is CBS player's policy to display random US-specific adverts before each playing of the video. We appologise for this, and it cannot be avoided. Additioanlly, should you pause the playback for too long, it will show you another advert and restart at 0.00.

Presenter Biographies


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Audio file available? No

Podcast Download? No

Podcast viewing notes

As is usual for CBS, the cast starts out emphasising that the technology they are going to look at is addressing an American-only problem. This is fairly standard rhetoric for broadcasting in that country, and can be safely ignored.

The presenter begins with background on the state of affairs for robotic arms, and showing just how far behind other technologies it has lagged.

A behind the scenes tour of Dean Kamen's company, DEKA, follows this, showing the people the arm is trying to aid, and the closest competitor - a hook that resembles Captain Hook's, that was first developed at the end of WW2 - and has not changed since.

Around 5:10, an arm is dismantled into pieces and several of the components including the main microcomputer, are explained in front of the camera.

Along the way, a bnetter method of conencting the limb to the body was required, so they made one. Air-filled bladders providing gentle pressure against the body, holding the prosthetic on without sweating and itching.

The newer developments start at 8:12, when Chuck Hillbrook, a double amputee demonstrates the capabilities of the current version of the arm; opening doors, popping bottle lids, even using an electric drill/screwdriver to screw a screw through wood.

After that, the podcast moves briefly onto the power knee, showing how artificial legs function in comparioson. After this, we move back to arms, and discuss connecting the arm into the nervous system.

Additional Research Links

Dean Kamen


Staff Comments


Untitled Document .