Boy, five, born without hand becomes world’s youngest to get bionic Hero Arm

Jordan Marotta’s mother Ashley said the Iron Man-style arm was an ‘instant confidence boost’ for her son.

Sam Russell
Friday 24 May 2024 15:10 BST
Jordan Marotta, five, has become the youngest person in the world to get a bionic Hero Arm (Ashley Marotta/ PA)
Jordan Marotta, five, has become the youngest person in the world to get a bionic Hero Arm (Ashley Marotta/ PA)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

A five-year-old boy who was born without a left hand has become the youngest in the world to get a bionic Hero Arm, making him “feel like a superhero”.

Jordan Marotta’s mother Ashley Marotta said the Iron Man-style arm was an “instant confidence boost” for her son and he had rushed back to his school to show his friends.

The custom-made, 3D printed prosthetic is produced by Bristol-based Open Bionics, which was founded in 2014 and launched four clinics in America in the last year.

Jordan, of Long Island, New York state, is now the youngest ever owner of one of the firm’s Hero Arms.

The prosthetic uses special sensors which detect muscular contractions and turn them into bionic hand movements.

Most children with Hero Arms are aged seven years old or above, but the firm said Jordan’s size for his age and his high IQ – meaning he was easy to teach how to use the Hero Arm – meant he could have one sooner.

The previous youngest Hero Arm user was a six-year-old from Los Angeles.

Several children in the UK received a Hero Arm aged seven – including Louie Morgan-Kemp, of Swavesey, Cambridgeshire.

Jordan’s mother had been following Open Bionics on Facebook and contacted the firm when they opened a clinic in New York.

The Hero Arm was paid for by insurance.

Clinical psychologist Ms Marotta, 38, said she was “so grateful” to Open Bionics.

“Initially we were told he was too young and we convinced Open Bionics to see us and luckily he picked it up right away,” she said.

“As soon as we left with Jordan’s Hero Arm, he was running around with so much confidence trying to hail New York taxis.

“It was an instant confidence boost; the Hero Arm really makes him feel like a superhero and he is superhero obsessed.

“He then wanted to rush back to his school to show his teachers and friends.

“He was so happy and so excited and so was everyone at his school.

“As a mum, you just want your child to be happy, and he is generally happy and resilient, but (after getting the Hero Arm) he was on top of the world and glowing.

“He could not have been happier or more excited and he’s the same today.

“It’s amazing.”

Jordan had only used one different prosthetic before but stopped using it because of the lack of functionality.

Since getting his Hero Arm this week, he has been able to grab his scooter handles and go for a ride.

“He is so excited to use it and to be able to control the fingers and grab two objects now,” said mother-of-three Ms Marotta.

“We’re excited to see him get used to reaching with two hands and playing with his superhero toys with two hands.”

She said that she and Jordan’s father Josh, 42, who works in the family business, a dental laboratory, were “blessed and the Hero Arm was covered by our insurance”.

Daniel Green, the clinician who delivered the Hero Arm and training to Jordan at Open Bionics in New York, said it was a “pleasure” to work with him and meet his family.

He said Jordan was “very smart”, had a “great personality” and was “really excited about his Hero Arm and couldn’t wait to show his friends”.

Open Bionics is a British company delivering bionic hands and partial hand prosthetics globally for amputees.

It describes itself as the only company in the world making multi-articulating hands small and light enough for children as young as Jordan.

It is also the only company in the world able to produce bionic arms from the Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney universes thanks to a long-term collaboration with The Walt Disney Company.

The firm has fitted amputees with Hero Arms in Ukraine, Germany, and Australia.

Samantha Payne, co-founder at Open Bionics, said: “We’re so happy for Jordan and can’t wait to see how he puts his new Iron Man arm to work.”

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