FDA expedites review of robotic arm


Andrew Zajac
LA Times
February 9, 2011

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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Reporting from Washington — Responding to the needs of badly wounded war veterans, federal officials said Tuesday they were accelerating reviews of a science-fiction-like robotic arm controlled by a computer chip on the brain.

The device would make the use of prosthetic arms, hands and fingers seem almost natural by using a microchip implanted on the brain to record and decode signals to neurons that control the prosthesis.

In a dramatic video accompanying the announcement by the Food and Drug Administration, the prosthetic arm wielded pliers and picked up a clothespin to demonstrate its dexterity.

The system, developed over the last five years at a cost of more than $100 million by the Pentagon’s advanced technology research program, will become the first to be reviewed under a new FDA program designed to make promising medical devices available sooner.

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