“Do It Yourself” is phrase most people typically think of in connection with car maintenance, house repairs, or even fixing broken household appliances.
One Welsh man, however, has taken DIY to the next level, creating what is likely the first ever homemade bionic arm.
When Ben Ryan’s son Sol was born in March 2015, he had a blood clod in his left arm, one which initially went undetected. Doctors said the arm would need to be partially amputated to ensure Sol’s survival.
After the surgery, Ryan and his wife, Kate, found little help was available from the National Health Service.
“It was likely to be three years before he could be fitted for an electric device,” Ryan said.
Undeterred, Ryan decided to find an alternative solution for little Sol.
“I thought I could do better for my son. By encouraging him to use both arms during this period of early brain development, we believed Sol would become more likely to adopt prosthetics later on.”
Within two months, Ryan had managed to design his own bionic arm prosthetic device for Sol, using nothing but a personal laptop, a $25 Xbox scanner, and a 3D printer.
The device itself, a hydraulic arm, has been called “potentially revolutionary” by health officials, the Daily Post reported.
Since then, Ryan has produced another prosthetic device, designed for Rio Paralympic cyclist Denise Schindler.
Working with Paul Sohi of the Autodesk software company, Ryan has established a crowdfunding campaign to launch a company, Ambionics, dedicated to providing affordable prosthetic devices.