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Honoring Veterans Through Innovation

High-technology is used extensively in military applications — we all know that. But it is also being used to improve the lives of veterans.

An example of this effort was shared by Dean Kamen, inventor and founder of DEKA Research and Development Corp., at a recent industry conference.

Kamen’s company, DEKA, was asked by DARPA to develop a better prosthetic arm. In spite of the advancements made in robotics and rehabilitative technologies, prosthetic arms are largely non-functional and cosmetic, and those that are functional still use a hook as the primary grasping tool. Kamen wanted to develop a prosthetic that not only looked like an arm, but rotated, bent, and had the tactile capability of picking up a grape without breaking the skin.

Men and women return from combat every day missing their limbs. Kamen and DEKA operated under the belief that it is not enough to replace arms and legs with a device that doesn’t restore the kind of functionality soldiers had before being harmed in battle.

The DEKA arm is incredible. It can be strapped on by a user and operated with very little training. It bends and flexes and has fingers that can pick up a dime. Kamen shared some video of a veteran using the arm for the first time.

Most importantly, the arm was developed first and foremost with the user in mind. Kamen’s measurement of success: Using the arm, a combat veteran was able to feed himself for the first time in 12 years.

DEKA ran into some regulatory issues with the FDA, but that’s a story for another time. It’s the effort that is inspiring – enabling individuals to do the things that we all take for granted (dressing ourselves, feeding ourselves, getting a drinking glass off a shelf, etc.).

Giving back to people what they lost in service to our country should be the very least we can do. That’s not easily accomplished, and there are many reasons why. But as long as we continue to work toward that goal,we are honoring our veterans, in a small way, through innovation and invention.

[Article republished from EBNOnline.]


1-Source’s Take: The editorial staff of the 1-Source E-Newsletter in preparation for this November edition found this rather innovative and human-spirited article relating to our brave men and women in uniform. We wanted to feature it this month and we know you will agree.

For a moment we all need to stop and appreciate what our high-technology does for the lives of our veterans. We at 1-Source were moved by the efforts of DEKA; we find it is inspiring. It is the type of effort and innovation that is often lost in the day-to-day grind of business. It is about impacting lives and allowing for the small things to occur again with our returning injured veterans and improving their quality of life. We thank DEKA for living and breathing the big picture.

As always, 1-Source operates with a company-wide commitment to the men and women in uniform — past and present U.S. military personnel and our U.S. government subcontractors for:

  • Quality product and services
  • First-rate response
  • A 100% time and quality rating with DMCA, LMCO, Raytheon, NASA, and others
  • Specializing in kitting and buying services for such best-in-class brands as National Instruments, Altinex, Niedax, and many others

To speak with a member of Military Account Management Team, please e-mail us.

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