Meet the bionic heroes. Every time we fit somebody with a Hero Arm, they join the Open Bionics family and become a bionic hero. This every-expanding group are true pioneers, the very first people in the world to be fitted with a 3D-printed multi-grip bionic arms. They embrace their individuality and break down barriers. You may recognise a few of them from viral videos and TV appearances..! #BionicHeroes
As a baby, 12-year-old Tilly Lockey contracted a deadly form of meningitis called meningococcal septicaemia, and had to undergo an operation to have both her hands amputated. Tilly is now twelve, and is the proud owner of two super stylish Hero Arms, with covers that she has designed herself. She recently appeared on ITV’s ‘This Time Next Year’ with Davina McCall. “I love the Hero Arm!” says Tilly. “It’s so much fun to use and I’m finding out new things I can do with it everyday.” This is her story, told in her own words.
Dan was born without a right arm, but this never stopped him giving everything a try. “When I was younger I used to wear a lot of prosthetics that didn’t really do anything other than making me feel negative about myself,” says Dan. “I never thought in my lifetime that I would ever be able to wear something like the Hero Arm. As a kid this was only a dream but now it’s reality it’s mind blowing.” Dan has been part of the Open Bionics journey since 2014, demo-ing the arm all around the world. This is Dan’s story, told in his own words.
Kate is a TV presenter and former Paralympic swimmer. She lost her left hand in a farming machinery accident when she was 2 years old, but this never held her back. She embraced her uniqueness and competed against the world’s best, but now she wants to enhance her life with a bionic arm. “The Hero Arm is all about embracing each individual’s unique style and personality,” says Kate. “When I wear my Hero Arm I feel empowered and proud to show it off.” This is Kate’s story, told in her own words.
10-year-old Cameron was born missing his right hand. He was always a very determined little boy and would manage to find a way around every little thing. His previous prostheses were heavy and not really useful. The Hero Arm is the one prosthesis Cameron has stuck with and used more than anything he’s previously had. “I find a big difference using the Hero Arm,” says Cameron. “I think its given me a lot of confidence too because everyone asks me about it and talks to me so I can explain what it is and people don’t say ‘oh what happened to your hand’ they say ‘oh my GOD how cool is your hand!'”
12-year-old Raimi lost her right hand to Amniotic Band Syndrome. Given an option of termination or being gifted with a differently abled child, without hesitation her parents chose the latter. Throughout her life, Raimi’s prosthestic arms had very little functionality, and were used to boost her confidence more than anything else. Raimi says the Hero Arm makes her feel unique and she loves the attention it gets from inquisitive people. Its no longer negative attitudes about her limb difference but genuine interest and amazement, sometimes even jealousy. The functionality is fantastic and just being able to gesture to people with either hand is a joyful experience that just makes her giggle.
Luke was born without a left arm. As a kid, he became disillusioned with “a myoelectric hand which was very heavy and clumsy.” Luke says the hand “would crush soft objects like sandwiches and drop things randomly when the sensors misread my muscles. Needless to say, this could look quite creepy, and as a young child, made me feel like the technology was hopeless. Thanks to the Hero Arm, the opposite is now true.” Luke uses his Hero Arm in his work as a software engineer, and loves the attention he receives in every day life, picking up a pint and challenging friends to a bionic arm wrestle. “I’ve now been living with and testing the Hero Arm since 2017,” says Luke, “and I can honestly say that it’s tough to imagine life without it.”
In February 2018, Kim Smith had all four of her limbs amputated after contracting sepsis. Kim spent 9 weeks in intensive care, and at one point she was given only six hours to live. But she fought sepsis and won. Now she’s determined to win back her independence. Her daughter set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a bionic arm, and in August, we fitted her with a right Hero Arm. Now she’s fundraising for a left-handed Hero Arm. Kim absolutely loves her Hero Arm and told us “it’s going to change my life”.
9-year-old Leo from Sheffield was born without a left arm. He’s only ever worn non-functional prosthetic arms in the past, but has struggled with their blandness. His parents told us that “it will change his life in so many ways, it already has with all the positive attention, and being one of the first people to be lucky enough to have use of the Hero Arm has boosted his self esteem”. At the end of August 2018, the BBC One Show created a 5-minute film of Leo building part of his Hero Arm and then wearing it for the very first time. He said his Hero Arm was “beautiful” and he’s enjoying practising with his new hand.