Two Ukrainian soldiers with amputations after being injured by landmines are being fitted with the latest bionic weapons developed in the UK.
They are the first war veterans to be fitted with the new Hero Arm – a 3D-printed prosthesis developed by Bristol-based tech company OpenBionics.
Andrei Gudzon and Vitaly Ivashchuk tried their hand at Munich this week. It has movable fingers and thumbs that allow it to pinch and hold objects. It is controlled by sensors that are activated by the arm muscles.
Custom prostheses for both men will now be made on 3D printers and implanted next month.
Vitaly, 24, described testing the hero arm as a “very cool feeling”, adding: “I’m glad I got the chance to get such a functional prosthesis. I didn’t even expect it.”
“When the electrodes were placed and I got a chance to test the prosthesis, I enjoyed it. I was happy to put it lightly.”
The male prosthesis was funded by MasterCard, which is helping charity foundation Superhumans to raise £33m to build a specialist hospital in Lviv, Ukraine.
The Superhumans Center will work with OpenBionics to provide prosthetics, rehabilitation and counseling to civilians and soldiers who have lost limbs as a result of war.
Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, is on the center’s board.
The Ukrainian government estimates that at least 62,000 square miles of its territory are littered with landmines and other unexploded ordnance.
Joel Gabbard, who led the OpenBionics team that fitted the prosthesis, told Sky News that civilian casualties include children, who are often unaware of the dangers.
He said: “We’ve heard of situations where they’re picking them up and obviously then losing the limb. So when we designed the Hero Arm, we made it suitable for children up to eight years old. Tried to make it suitable.
“It’s not yet technologically at a level where it can replace the human hand. We’ve designed it for activities of daily living.
“We want him to be able to hold different sized objects, pick things up, hold a cup of coffee, tie shoelaces, brush his teeth – those are the things we focused on in the design. Is.”
Superhumans chief executive Olga Rodneva said: “The philosophy of Superhumans is that our patients receive the best medical services at home, with their families, in their own language.
“Once the Super Human Center opens, it will see 3,000 patients every year. Thanks to partners and donors, all services will be free for patients.”
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