Mass. man receives first of its kind bionic arm, hand
BOSTON (WHDH) -- A south shore man became the first person in the United States to receive the world’s newest bionic hand.
The limb is designed at Hanger Clinic, which says it wants to create more high-tech devices to make life easier for all amputees.
Mike Benning can now throw and catch a football with two hands for the first time in decades.
“To be able to that easily has been very, very empowering,” said Benning.
The bionic arm and hand allow the 48-year-old Scituate resident the incredible dexterity to pick up individual strawberries, hold a coffee cup and a water jug with ease. Benning can finally hold a cell phone to text message and type.
Benning lost his limb to cancer when he was a teenager.
“It’s as close to normal that I’ve been in 34 years,” Benning said.
The prosthetic device is called the iLimb Ultra Revolution and though Apple has nothing to do with it, there is actually an app for it. The app gives mike 24 different grip patterns he can program on his hand with the touch of a button. Benning can also manually adjust his thumb.
“Things that were on the research table or in the research lab just a couple of years ago are now coming to the marketplace and amputees around the world are the beneficiaries of this,” said Benning.
Two electrodes rest on Benning’s original limb, which send electrical impulses to his bionic arm which then makes the movement for him.
“The more I wear this, the more things I figure out to do with it. The technology behind it is just phenomenal,” said Benning.
Hanger Clinic designed the prosthetic device using the iLimb hand made by Touch Bionics. Similar high-end technology also exists for prosthetic ankles and knees.
“I think the sky’s the limit. We’re always looking forward into what can continue to enhance human capabilities with artificial limbs,” said Brian Heckathron of the Hanger Clinic.
Benning wants other amputees to know that life-changing devices are on the way.
“To think of where we are now and where we’re going to be 10 years from now is even more mind blowing,” said Benning.
Benning’s bionic arm cost around $70,000. Insurance sometimes covers prosthetic devices.