F1 fan receives bionic hand from Mercedes team

F1 fan receives bionic hand from Mercedes team
A 14 year old boy from Berkshire has had his wish for a new bionic hand fulfilled after writing a letter to Mercedes F1 boss, Ross Brawn.

Matthew James was born with a congenital defect that meant his left arm only developed to the wrist. He wrote to Mr Brawn asking him to provide him with a top of the range £35,000 bionic hand called the iLimb after he noticed that the prosthetic was created using similar technologies to those used in F1 racing.

Mercedes then teamed up with Scottish firm, Touch Bionics to create and fit Matthew with the i-Limb Pulse, which is said to be the most advanced technology of its type in the world. Two sensors in the base of the prosthetic pick up Matthew's muscle movements which then go to the motors in the hand, causing it to open and close.

The microprocessor controlled, myoelectric hand was first developed by Touch Bionics in 2007. With five articulating digits (including a rotatable thumb), it enables users a range of grip patterns previously unavailable to them. In addition, the articulating finger allows a range of grip and dexterity functions, enabling patients like Matthew to point their index finger to operate a pc keyboard, hold a plate or turn a key in a lock.

"Matthew's letter to the team was very touching," said Brawn. "Meeting Matthew, and hearing firsthand how the new device would improve his quality of life, was a pleasure and I am delighted that our initial contact has now led to such a positive conclusion."

Laura Hopperton

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