SoCal Army captain among 1st amputees to test new high-tech robotic prosthetic hand

Army Capt. Carey DuVal is helping test a new robotic prosthetic hand that is changing the game for amputees across the world.
WESTLAKE VILLAGE (KABC) -- Army Capt. Carey DuVal is helping test a new robotic prosthetic hand that is changing the game for amputees across the world.

"The big hook here is a gesture control where I can literally just flex inside the cuff and it automatically changes the setup of the hand to a different grip," said DuVal.

DuVal lost his hand in an IED attack in Afghanistan six years ago. After little to no success with previous prosthetics, he eventually discovered Westlake Village interface company, Biodesigns. Their prosthetic allowed him to return to weightlifting, CrossFit and yoga. It even allowed him to return to his job in the infantry, becoming the only amputee to get through Special Forces assessment selection.

"The second I got a sports prosthetic from them, it was a game changer," said DuVal. "I went from having an extremely atrophied right arm to actually getting volume and mass back. My shoulder starting building back up."

"Ultimately, that's our goal is you get on with your life, you don't even think about what you're wearing, it's part of you," said Randall Alley of Biodesigns.

Alley is now proud to help take it to the next level, becoming the first facility in the country to test their interface with a new robotic hand made by a company called BrainRobotics.

"So instead of thinking I'm going to use my muscles a certain way and pulse them for example, he just thinks of the grip he's gonna use and goes right to it, because the pattern recognition recognizes that pattern after being calibrated and trained," said Alley.

DuVal is one of the first amputees to try it out - technology that's giving hope to people who feel they can't move on.

"It's like you have a hand again and all of a sudden that's not a hindrance to you," said DuVal. "The fact that that stuff continues to evolve is really gonna help out not just other hand amputees, but people with different levels of amputation and different injuries."

BrainRobotics is waiting for FDA approval for the hand. The company hopes to launch the product early next year.
Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.