Amputee's Bionic Arm Looks Straight Out Of The Future

James Young says it will need to improve, but it's pretty cool so far.

When James Young first put on his bionic arm, things didn't go exactly as planned.

Its intended design was supposed to let movements in his shoulder, where the arm was attached, dictate how his fingers and rest of his arm moved. Instead, it wasn't a perfect fit, it made some movements on its own and it felt a bit heavy to him. But the futuristic prosthetic arm was still a far cry from where he was four years ago after falling under a train arriving in London.

Young's new prosthetic arm was inspired a character named Solid Snake — who has a bionic arm — in the video game Metal Gear Solid V. It was designed by Sophie de Oliveira Barata from the Alternative Limb Project.


"When I put this on, literally I don't have control over it," Young says in a BBC documentary. "It's been a bit of a step back and it's made me just go, 'oh I'm still powerless to sort myself out' basically."

The 26-year-old biological scientist isn't giving up, though. After being outfitted with the $90,000 arm — which is equipped with a smartwatch, USB port, and a drone — Young is trying to push forward advancements on the project. One way to help improve his control would be to have the arm bound to his body with titanium bone implants, something he hopes to do for his prosthetic foot as well.

In order to do that, he's set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money. 

"Osseointegration (OI) is modern, and not based on decades even hundreds of years old technology," he wrote about using titanium bone implants. This procedure would implant my bones with titanium implants which allow me to bolt on an artificial limb in seconds, with potentially zero discomfort once healed."

Moving forward, James is doing his best to tackle both the physical and mental challenges of being an amputee. For now, he'll have to settle on how inspiring he already is. 

Check out Part II of BBC's Metal Gear Man documentary

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