Dad builds son bionic arm using 3D printer

He has now launched a crowdfunding campaign to help launch the product

Dad builds son bionic arm using 3D printer

Image: Indiegogo

A father whose son’s arm was amputated when he was only 10 days old has developed a bionic arm for him using a 3D printer.

Ben Ryan came up with the idea after being told there was nothing doctors could do for Sol until he was a year old.

Even then, he was told Sol would need to be three before he could be fitted with a movable electric device.

"I discovered a fairly clear pattern where children not fitted with a functional hand until after two years of age tended to reject prosthetics", said the former psychology lecturer.

"I thought I could do better."

Humble beginnings

He started when Sol was five weeks old using "odds and sods I had around the house" to extend his arm and help him play.

Initially, he used a piece of sponge and a bandage as a prop for his son, but soon moved on to more inventive solutions.

Inspiration for his current device came from the way spiders move their legs using fluid pressure.

The arm allows the wearer to control a basic grabbing mechanism which Mr Ryan says will work as a training device for young amputees, allowing them to better adapt to a more advanced versions when they get older.

The prosthetic arm was made using 3D printing after a scan was taken of Sol's arm.

The father, from Bangor, quit his job to develop the prosthetic full time and has set up a company, Ambionics, to develop prosthetics for other young infants.

He has now launched a crowdfunding campaign to help launch the product.

He is looking to raise £150,000 (€175,000) to patent the technology and get it medically tested and certified so it can be used by other youngsters.

The project has been commended by health chiefs from NHS Wales.

The Director of Innovation at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Dr Nefyn Williams, said Ambionics work "has the potential to revolutionise the care of infants with upper limb differences".