Bristol firm build bionic arm for accident victim

A lorry driver from Germany has become one of the first people in the world to be fitted with a bionic arm designed in Bristol.

Michael Altheim lost four fingers of his right hand in a work accident.

He has been now fitted with a 3D printed device called a Hero Gauntlet by designed by Bristol based Open Bionics.

Mr Altheim’s accident happened a decade ago when the glove he was wearing got caught in an industrial machine,

The new device, called a Hero Gauntlet, has 3D-printed fingers which strap onto his palm.

They are controlled by Mr Altheim’s wrist motion, enabling him to experience gripping and holding objects for the first time since his accident.

“I previously had partial finger solutions, but the weight was really heavy, operation minimal and it wasn’t waterproof,” he said.

“I could maybe fold a towel and that was it. I’ve never been able to properly hold a screwdriver or hammer, or use it for fishing.”

The waterproof and lightweight Hero Gauntlet was custom-built for Mr Altheim  using 3D scanning and 3D printing by Open Bionics.

Samantha Payne, chief operating officer and co-founder of Open Bionics, said: “We’ve had so many requests from the limb difference community to design and develop a partial hand solution that offers function and comfort for all-day wear.

“It’s pure joy to see this piece of engineering have an instant positive impact on activities Michael loves doing.”