In development for nearly a decade, the revolutionary Luke Arm will soon be available. Designed and produced by Segway creator Dean Kamen’s company, DEKA, and funded through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Next Step has partnered in the critical fit and testing since the beginning of the project. Approved by the FDA in 2014, the Luke Arm represents Life Under Kinetic Evolution.
What sets the Luke Arm apart? Simply put, its intuitive integration into the user’s body movements. The human arm and hand with its opposable thumb and five independently articulated fingers, is incredibly complex and capable. The prosthesis uses electrodes placed on the amputated limb (above the elbow or below the elbow) to pick up electrical signals from the user’s muscles. Compared to the typical prosthesis controlled by switches or buttons, or even controlled manually, the Luke Arm is capable of extremely fine as well as flexible movements. What does it feel like for an amputee to be able to reach over their head to pluck an apple from a tree or pick up a heavy piece of equipment, or delicately peel a banana? Now it will be possible for amputees to experience these and many more life experiences that they haven’t been able to since losing their limb.
Kamen’s group even tackled the key reason amputees don’t wear their prosthetic limb – comfort. Unlike the traditional connection method that relies on the greatest possible surface area contact between flesh and the prosthetic arm (causing friction, heat, and pain), Randy Alley, C.P. from Biodesigns, Inc. in Westlake Village, California, along with assistance from Next Step, developed a socket that was made for the Luke Arm called the Hi Fidelity Interface, this socket is also adaptable to traditional prostheses. Continue reading “The Breakthrough Bionic Arm for Upper Limb Amputees”→
If you have a prosthetic limb, you know the challenges that come with daily wear under the best of circumstances. With the advent of spring, though, you and your prosthesis will be faced with weather of every sort – rain, snow and sleet, and, everyone’s favorite — the ever-present mud. What precautions should you take? Maintaining your prosthesis to ensure both you and your prosthetic limb will weather the weather is very doable. Whether or not you have a waterproof prosthesis, you don’t have to (nor should you) stay indoors; conquer whatever spring throws at you with a few simple steps:
Prosthetic socks are your best friend. Take good care of them, so they can take good care of you. Be aware of changes in limb volume due to weather conditions or exercise and be prepared to compensate (this blog post on summer activities provides additional tips). If your sock becomes soiled, excessively wet, or muddy don’t wait to change it and clean the socket. Continue reading “Maintaining Your Prosthesis in Spring Rain, Sleet, and Mud”→
Who isn’t psyched for longer days, warmer temperatures, and the chance to get back out there and enjoy our favorite spring sports and activities? It’s also a great way to connect with other athletes and enjoy the camaraderie of taking on challenges together. If you’re ready to explore something new or are a more recent amputee ready to get active, you probably have some questions about your options, what you’ll need, and where you can go to find the resources and programs that are just right for you. To help, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite resources with the information and sports activities guaranteed to help get athletes at any level back on the field.
Disabled Sports USA has valuable information on many diverse sports – both the popular and a little off the beaten path (Boccia anyone?). This is a great place to start with questions on what to expect and what preparation/equipment you will need. Be sure to check out adaptive sport locations here.
I chose Next Step as my prosthetics provider after receiving a list of options that I have in the area. Setting up appointments, coming into the clinics, meeting the staff, and really trying to figure out the best option for me as far as my prosthetics. I knew this was going to be a long road and that this is not a decision that I should be making lightly. Fortunately, I picked Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics, which has been the best thing I’ve done for my medical needs since I’ve gotten home by far. Continue reading “Veteran Marine On Why He Chose Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics”→
My training schedule leading up to the paralympic trials was really intense. I was on the track fivedays a week and did many different variations of sprints. My sprints were all based around speed, endurance andtechnique.
In order to prepare I did double of every workout I was supposed to be doing. If I was supposed todo 8, I would do 16 an if others did 5, I would do 10. This is because I know a lot of guys who I was competing against have had 5, 10 even 20 years in these in these prosthetics. For me to get where I wanted to be, when I wanted to be there, I needed to do much more.Continue reading “How I Trained For Paralympic Sprinting – Muji Karim”→
The advice I would give somebody that is just starting out on this journey with prosthetics, disabilities, or whatever they may come across, is to always keep pushing. Always keep fighting. Never let a roadblock stop you. Always exceed everybody’s expectations. Continue reading “Advice From Amputee Veteran On Moving Forward”→
When I was in college, I started studying history and by my end of my freshman year, I narrowed my focus more in conservation and environmental science. As I made the transition into environmental science, I also began a minor in organismic and evolutionary biology as a secondary field.
I took a course on in invertebrate biology with two wonderful professors at Harvard and the course included a trip to Panama. We went during spring break and I did a lot of reed biology research and snorkeling. On the last day of our trip, we were scheduled to go diving. I’ve never dove before and I was really excited and also a little nervous. However, I went to the class and did a diving exploration and I got hooked. Continue reading “Diving With One Leg – Amputee Diving”→