Medical breakthrough: Prosthetic arm powered by foot

By  | 

MANCHESTER, N.H. (CBS) Double amputee Chuck Hildreth gave a thumbs-up to his new arm and even picked a piece of fruit, thanks to a medical breakthrough in New Hampshire.

"This is the first fully integrated powered shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand prosthesis," said Matt Albuquerque, the president of Next Step Bionics and Prosthetics.

This state-of-the-art prosthetic arm is called the LUKE arm. Believe it or not, Hildreth's arm is being controlled by his foot. Albuquerque says to think of it like a joystick.

"As Chuck starts moving his feet, he has that control of his prosthesis. If he moves his foot forward, the prosthesis comes out. If he moves it back, he basically brings his prosthesis back," Albuquerque explained.

Air Force veteran Ron Currier is still training to perfect the connection between his feet and his new arms. But once he does, Currier knows exactly how he's going to celebrate.

"Jumping out a perfectly good airplane and the other one is going to be... ice climbing at Cathedral Ledges. I really want to go climb it and I want to repel down it. That will be a lot of fun," Currier said.

But on this day, he climbed another mountain with just a handshake.