Technology with attitude

Video: First British Soldier to Get a Bionic Arm

Cpl Andrew Garthwaite, a British soldier injured in battle, has been fitted with a new bionic arm, as a result of a difficult surgery lasting six hours in an Austrian hospital. Soon in the future Mr Garthwaite will be able to control his new arm with his brain.

The 24-year-old Andrew Garthwaite, from South Tyneside, was badly injured in Afghanistan, in September 2010 when a Taliban rocket propelled grenade took off his right arm and killed one of his comrades.

Today he is one of the few people in the world who have a rewired nerve system that allows to control a bionic limb with the brain. Garthwaite’s arm system, though, has its limitations, currently he needs to flex his back or chest muscle to achieve a single, robotic movement. But in the coming months these nerves will grow and Garthwaite’s mind will work out which nerves do what, and will learn how to control those nerves. He will then be able to control his bionic arm in such a way that it will become intuitive, unlike the slow robotic movements of his current arm.

Watch the related BBC report:


After his complex, remarkable surgery, Cpl Garthwaite will soon feel a hand on his chest, his own hand. And, as the nerve endings grow he too will be able to operate his bionic limb by simply thinking about those hand and arm movements.

Read the rest of the story on the BBC website.

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