State-of-the-art bionic arms given to Ukrainian soldiers who were badly wounded by landmines | Science & Tech News

Two Ukrainian soldiers who had amputations after being injured by landmines are being fitted with state-of-the-art bionic weapons made in the UK.

They are the first war veterans to be fitted with the new Hero Arm – a 3D printed prosthesis made by Bristol-based tech company Open Bionics.

Andrii Gidzun and Vitalii Ivashchuk visited the arm this week in Munich. It has movable fingers and thumbs that allow it to pinch and grasp objects. It is controlled by sensors that are activated by muscles in the forearm.

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Custom prostheses are now being made on 3D printers for the two men and will be fitted next month.

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Vitalii, 24, described testing the Hero Arm as a “very cool feeling”, adding: “I’m happy to have such a chance to get such a functional prosthesis. I didn’t even hope for it.

“When the electrodes were applied and I had the opportunity to test this prosthesis, I just enjoyed it. I was happy, to put it mildly.”

The men’s prostheses were funded by Mastercard, which is supporting the Superhumans charity to raise £33m to build a specialist hospital in the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

The Superhumans Center will collaborate with Open Bionics to provide prostheses, rehabilitation and counseling to civilians and soldiers who have lost limbs as a result of the war.

The First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, is on the board of the center.

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Ukraine’s government estimates that at least 62,000 square miles of its territory are littered with landmines and other unexploded ordnance.

Joel Gibbard, who headed the Open Bionics team that fitted the prostheses, told Sky News that civilian casualties include children, who are often unaware of the risks.

He said: “We’ve heard of circumstances where they’ve picked them up and apparently then lost limbs. So when we designed the Hero Arm, we decided to try and make it suitable for children as young as eight years old .

“It is not yet at the technological level where it can be a replacement for a human hand. We have designed it for activities of daily life.

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“We aim for it to be able to hold objects of various sizes, pick things up, hold a cup of coffee, tie shoelaces, brush teeth – these are the kinds of things we focused on in the design.”

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Olga Rudneva, the chief executive of Superhumans, said: “The philosophy of Superhumans is that our patients receive the best medical service at home, next to their families, in their own language.

“Once the Superhuman center opens, it will take up to 3,000 patients every year. All services will be free for patients through partners and donors.”


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