Epic Ideas

Published on November 20th, 2017 | by Joe Scott

This Dad Was Told That His Son Couldn’t Get A Prosthetic Arm Until He Was Three, So He Built One Himself

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A devoted father has designed a revolutionary 3D-printed arm for his two-year-old son – and used a £20 XBox scanner to help him along the way.

Former psychology lecturer Ben Ryan developed his own patented hydraulic system to help his son, Sol, who lost most of his left arm following an injury at birth.

The system, inspired by how spiders’ legs move using hydraulic pressure, enables Sol’s left arm to grip and power a prosthetic.

His local health board described the technology as having the “potential to revolutionise” infant amputee care.




The venture was so successful that Ben and his brother Kevin have now formed a company, called Ambionics, to explore the technology further and have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £150,000.

Sol, named after the solar eclipse on the day of his birth, was born in March 2015 with an undetected clot in his upper left arm.

Surgeons advised amputation through the elbow joint but Ben and his wife Kate persuaded them to save as much of their son’s lower arm function as possible.

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