Jet ski accident man gets UK's first bionic limb with £47,000 life-like hand

 

An engineer who lost his right hand in a jet ski accident has become the first person in the UK to be fitted with a revolutionary lifelike bionic limb.

The £47,000 Michelangelo hand is controlled by muscle signals from Christopher Taylor's brain, with the four fingers and thumb able to move independently of each other.

Using the device, Mr Taylor, a married father-of-three, is able to grip items - vital for his job as a self-employed lifting equipment engineer.

The 58-year-old from Ivybridge, Devon, who returned to work a fortnight after losing his hand in August 2009, has been testing the Michelangelo since December and had his final fitting this week.

He said the hand, paid for by an insurance claim, is a vast improvement on previous prosthetics.

Mr Taylor, who is left-handed, said: "The fingers move in line like a natural hand and I particularly like the way I can very quickly change the type of grip needed for a variety of everyday tasks as easily as moving my remaining hand."

The hand was fitted by Dorset Orthopaedic director of clinical services David Hills, who said his team had been looking for a suitable patient since first seeing a prototype of the German device several years ago.

"He is a very determined gentleman," said Mr Hills. "Putting him together with this marvellous hand was perfect.

"It allows him to get back to normal activities at home, like helping out in the kitchen, ironing and making beds."

The Michelangelo - named after the Italian artist's painting of God and Adam touching hands - is made of soft and hard components, mirroring bones, joints, muscles and tendons. It has a silicone socket, attaching the hand to Mr Taylor's arm.

Mr Hills said: "Traditionally, upper limb sockets are made from rigid materials such as glass fibre.

"We have, however, developed 100 per cent silicone sockets which are proving to be much more comfortable due to their flexibility, especially around bony areas such as the elbow."

Geoff Harding, prosthetics business manager at Ottobock Healthcare, which developed the hand, said: "This is a hugely exciting medical innovation and we're delighted that Christopher has found the Michelangelo so comfortable and easy to use.

"We hope that Christopher's story shows other amputees that real, effective solutions are available and look forward to watching his progress with Michelangelo."

Mr Hills said the company is looking for other patients to be fitted with the bionic hand, which can be covered with a glove to match the patient's skin tone for a more natural look.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk