Veteran amputees first recipients of ‘LUKE’ bionic arms

NEW YORK — After decades of doubt, Fred Downs is now a believer. Artie McAuley was skeptical too, not anymore.

Downs and McAuley are the very first recipients of the LUKE arm. Recently approved by the FDA, it is the most advanced commercial prosthetic in the world.

“This is starting the process of becoming more bionic,” McAuley told PIX11 News.

Both veterans lost their left arms as young soldiers in the U.S. Army. During the Vietnam War, Downs was an infantry platoon leader.

“I stepped on a ‘Bouncing Betty’ in 1968 and blew my left arm off right below the shoulder,” Downs said.

For nearly 50 years simple tasks like lifting a glass with his left arm were impossible.

“I have something that my other hand can work with and it’s exciting,” Downs said.

The powered joints of the LUKE arm have near-natural movement in the shoulders, elbows, wrists and even the fingers.

The LUKE arm began in 2005 as just an idea. Years of research, testing, trials and error were required before its recent FDA approval.