James Young lost his arm and a portion of his leg after being hit by a train. Needless to say, this can be a devastating injury. Not only are there loads of surgeries and a long road to recovery, but the way one goes about their daily life changes entirely when they’re living with fewer limbs. Young had been working down this long road of recovery, and doing quite well, when he saw an advertisement from Konami. To help promote Metal Gear Solid 5, they wanted to find an amputee who was also a gamer, and to supply him or her with a bionic arm. A gamer, a fan of Metal Gear, and a fan of the character Snake (who also has a bionic arm, if you aren’t familiar with Metal Gear), James was immediately interested in Konami’s search.
The team behind the bionic arm is from the Alternate Limb Project, where they work to not only give amputees functional and useful prosthetics, but prosthetics that are an extension of the individual’s personality. So when Young met with Sophie, the head of the team behind his new bionic arm, they not only talked about how they could make Young an arm to make everyday life a bit easier, but also what aesthetic choices and cool things Young wanted on his new limb.
The arm that Young ultimately ended up with is nothing short of a work of scientific art. It’s got a flashlight, a built-in smart watch, and a laser. Most impressively the hand is a fully-functioning, working hand that reacts to Young. It also looks totally badass. Young’s journey was documented in a two-part documentary on BBC Three called Bodyhack: Metal Gear Man.
While the project may have been, at its core, a unique marketing technique for Metal Gear, it has also helped highlight the scientific advances being made in prosthetic technology. While Young’s arm had a sizable budget from Konami behind it, as more and more companies start exploring better ways to equip amputees, the access to that amazing technology behind prosthetic limbs will only grow.
Have you or someone you loved lost a limb? What is one thing you wish those who haven’t would understand about losing part of your body? What other advances would you like to see in prosthetic technology? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
Image credit: TylerEdlinArt/DeviantArt.com