9-year-old gets 'awesome' gesture-controlled bionic arm

Josh Cathcart is a nine-year-old boy who was born missing a portion of his right arm, something that resulted in bullying and made life harder for him. Those troubles have been greatly minimized thanks to a new bionic arm from Touch Bionics, making him the first kid in the United Kingdom to get one of the company's i-limb quantum prosthetics. The arm is functional, allowing him to grip items as small as LEGOs and do things for himself that he previously had trouble doing. This is said to be the first prosthetic hand able to alter its grip using gestures.

According to The Guardian, Cathcart's bionic arm is a special one designed with a child's sized hand. The wearer can alter the grip of the prosthesis using gestures — moving the arm in a certain gesture will trigger the hand to form the desired grip. Using a different gesture will change the grip. Josh described it as "awesome."

He's able to perform a surprising number of actions with the arm — according to Josh, he can pinch, cut with a knife, stick his thump up, open bottles and packets, stack blocks, and even make himself a bagel. He says that the prosthetic does feel "quite heavy", though, something that will likely become less noticeable as he grows accustomed to the limb.

In between nine months and a year, Josh will be fitted with a new socket that will be larger to accommodate his growing body. This model of prosthesis, the i-limb quantum, was released in June. It works with electrodes that are placed on the skin's surface. The wearer can tense his or her muscles to open and close the hand, among other things.

SOURCE: The Guardian