An 11-year-old quadruple amputee has become the first person to receive a bionic arm reminiscent of the ‘Star Wars’ franchise’s most memorable droid R2-D2.
Kye Vincent, from Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, began crowdfunding for the Star Wars-themed ‘hero arm’ after losing four limbs to meningitis when he was eight years old.
The infection took less than 24 hours to spread through his body, which resulted in doctors amputating both of his lower legs, his right hand and part of his left hand.
“They didn’t have much of a chance of saving his limbs. Kye said he wanted to be a bionic boy, so we started fundraising,” said Kye’s mother Cheryl Vincent, who said that seeing her son with a hand again was very emotional.
“I was full of pride, I could burst. I was so happy for him. From a very young age, he’s always loved Star Wars. And to have it on a prosthetic arm, it shows what he’s into,” she explained.
The arm is one of several ‘hero arms’ manufactured by Bristol-based Open Bionics, which develops 3D-printed multi-grip prosthetics that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Many of its products cater for children who have lost limbs and offer them a range of designs – which include Disney and Marvel-themed arms such as Frozen and Iron Man.
“We wanted to show that people with a difference can be superheroes,” said Samantha Payne, the co-founder of the company. “There are no other multi-grip prosthetics available for children, and the ones that are [available] can be quite ugly or impractical.”