Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

VAMC Manchester, New Hampshire

 

First Bilateral Amputee fitted with LUKE Arms

Following the news conference LUKE arm recipient Ron Currier, Manchester VA acting director  Al Montoya and Dr. Kois along with founder and president of Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics give four thumbs up for the first-ever bilateral amputee fitted with two LUKE arms.

Image: Following the news conference LUKE arm recipient Ron Currier, Manchester VA acting director Al Montoya and Dr. Kois along with founder and president of Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics give four thumbs up for the first-ever bilateral amputee fitted with two LUKE arms. left to right: Alfred Montoya, acting medical center director, Ron Currier, US Air Force Veteran and former Manchester VA chief, Prosthetics, Dr. William E. Kios, MD, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Matthew Albuquerque, president and founder of Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics. Photo by: Manchester VA Medical Center

By Kristin Pressly, Public Affairs Officer, Manchester VA Medical Center
Friday, February 23, 2018

Manchester VA Medical Center Public-Private Partnerships Expand what is possible for Veterans

First Bilateral Amputee fitted with LUKE Arms

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Manchester VA Medical Center partnered with Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics who announced  breakthrough advancements in the use of the LUKE arm prosthesis.  The public-private partnership connects once unthinkable technology with Veterans to realize a greater quality of life. 

William E. Kois, M.D. is a physiatrist at Manchester VA Medical Center.  Dr. Kois streamlined this partnership, and the bilateral fitting to take place locally after learning his patient would need to travel to VA's Center of Excellence on the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y.  He reached out by email to the VA Secretary, “and 18 minutes later I got a reply from Shulkin that said, ‘That’s a terrific idea.  I’ll support you whatever way I can.’”

Next Step Bionics & Prothetics conducted the first public demonstrations of the new developments at a news conference with New Hampshire inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, Manchester VA Medical Center and Catholic Medical Center in the Med-Tech Mill Yard in Manchester. 

The LUKE arm is a modular prosthetic arm developed by DEKA Research & Development Corp. (founded by Kamen) with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and now manufactured by Mobius Bionics LLC. The LUKE arm is configurable for levels of amputation ranging from shoulder to forearm. The hand has multiple, preprogrammed grips using four powered degrees of freedom.

In addition to showcasing Ron Currier, Air Force Veteran and former Manchester VA chief, Prosthetics, as the first-ever bilateral amputee fitted with two LUKE arms, they also highlighted the first private fitting of a LUKE arm featuring fully integrated powered shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand, and the first non-investigational use of calibrated sensors capable of decoding natural muscle signals with the LUKE arm, translating the user’s thoughts into precise movements of hand and wrist. 

“It is so incredibly gratifying to help our patients gain dexterity, freedom of movement, and independence through this technology,” said Matthew Albuquerque, president and founder of Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics.

During the news conference, Ron shared the things he loves to do like scuba diving, and spending time in the woods by a fire with his dog cooking and eating kielbasa. “I feel like I have my hands back again,” said Ron who is a bilateral, below elbow amputee, who demonstrated the use of two LUKE arms at the news conference today. “I’ve always lived life as if there was nothing I couldn’t do, but always had to fight with prosthetics that just couldn’t keep up,” Ron continued. “Now, I have capability I wouldn’t have thought possible. My hope is that other amputees will have access to these advancements and be encouraged to live life on their terms, not by the limitations of their equipment.”

“The way that machines are integrated with people is as important as the technology itself,” said Dean Kamen, president, DEKA Research & Development. “The expanded use of the LUKE arm through the advancements announced today is very exciting and hopeful news for veteran amputees and for the general amputee population.”

Ron is still getting acquainted with the technology, and once he masters it he plans to push the limits of what is possible by going ice climbing.

“As a veteran myself, I think it is important for all veterans to know Manchester VA and our community partners are modernizing health care and advancing what is possible right here in New Hampshire,” said Alfred Montoya, acting director, Manchester VA Medical Center. “Public-private partnerships, like the collaboration our dedicated staff at the Manchester VA has with Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics and Dean Kamen, greatly expand our ability to address the needs of the veterans we serve.” 

Veterans, if you would like to learn more about what VA can offer you, explore your eligibility at:   https://explore.va.gov/

Are you interested in a career centered on advancing wellness for America’s heroes?  Join us:  https://www.vacareers.va.gov/

Share



Get Updates

Subscribe to Receive
Email Updates