We Can Rebuild Him… We Have The Technology
The popular 70s TV show Six Million Dollar Man had a catchphrase every kid from that era should still remember, “We can rebuild him… We have the technology.” In the show, Lee Majors played a former astronaut with bionic implants and now fiction is turning into reality.
Josh Cathcart, a 9-year-old boy who was born with his right arm missing from the elbow, has now been fitted with a prosthetic hand that is controlled by his own muscle’s signals. This allows him to grip utensils, put on his clothes, build with legos, stack blocks, pretty much anything with the pinch grip that he hasn’t had before. This has really made a difference in his daily life as his father told The Guardian:
“I think it’s great. Just to see him pull his trousers up this morning, it was just something that he had never done, and he has been shown how to cut with a knife and fork. It just looked so natural for him. He can do things for himself without us helping him.”
The prosthetic is from Touch Bionics based in Livingston, West Lothian and it was only released in June. Josh is the youngest person they have fitted with the device so far. Allison Goodwin explained how the i-limb quantum technology works:
“It works from electrodes which are positioned on the surface of his skin within the socket of his prosthesis, so this is the custom-made part which is fitted on to his residual limb. When he tenses these muscles, the electrodes open and close the hand.”
His mother Clare mentioned that he had been picked on because of the missing limb, but now Josh is excited to go to school and show his classmates his new bionic limb. I would imagine he would win Show and Tell that day. If you want to read more of the story, head on over The Guardian.