Two veterans living with arm amputations became the first to receive a new generation of prosthetic limb, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin presented Fred Downs and Artie McAuley with LUKE arms at a ceremony in New York on June 30.

Downs, who works as a prosthetics consultant for Paralyzed Veterans of America, lost his left arm above the elbow during the Vietnam War. McAuley is an Army veteran whose arm was amputated at the shoulder as the result of an accident while he was stationed at Fort Drum, New York.

The LUKE arm, developed by DARPA, promises near-natural arm and hand motion. The agency says the "unprecedented" movement of the LUKE arm system is the most significant advance in upper extremity prosthetics in more than a century. The arm system "enables dexterous arm and hand movement through a simple, intuitive control system," DARPA added.

DARPA's work on prosthetic arms continues with a variety of programs — including one that provides users with a sense of touch and another that uses signals from the brain to directly control the limb.