One of our valued customers, Touch Bionics, has made the headlines today with their amazing bionic prosthetics. Sky News have picked up the story:
"A British teenager has fulfilled his dream of being the proud owner of his very own Mercedes - in the form of a bionic arm. Matthew James, 14, was born missing his left hand and had adjusted to life with a simple open-and-close grip prosthetic limb. But after learning about the new electronic hand, called the i-LIMB Pulse, the determined student from Wokingham, Berkshire, knew he had to have it.
Knowing he could not afford the £35,000 device, the Formula One fan wrote a letter to the Mercedes GP Petronas racing team for help. In his letter, Matthew explained how the new hand would give him more control and freedom, and a much greater range of motions. He then put a cheeky proposal to the F1 team, asking them to pay for the artificial hand, and in return, he would let the company sponsor it by putting their Mercedes logo on it.
Team leader Ross Brawn said they were touched by the letter so invited Matthew to the Mercedes headquarters, where he toured the factory and met racing driver Michael Schumacher. After learning more about the prosthetic device - and how it was created using similar technologies to those used in F1 racing - Mr Brawn said they were eager to help. They got in touch with the bionic hand's developer, Touch Bionics, and a few months later, Matthew had his own fitted.
"It is just amazing," the teenager said after receiving the new limb. "My old artificial hand had a pretty basic open-close mechanism similar to a clamp. But with this one I can do everything. It also looks really cool - the outer shell is see-through so you can actually see the mechanics working. They are even going to put a little Mercedes badge by the wrist."
Matthew said he would now be able to take part in sports involving two hands, like cricket, as well school science lab experiments, which had always been a struggle for him."
Congratulations to all involved in this heart-warming story. Every one of us here at SMB Bearings is delighted to be involved in supplying our stainles steel miniature bearings to such a great company & project. You can find out more about Touch Bionics & their incredible prosthetic devices here.
26.08.11 Update - Matthew still needs help raising money for his hand, he's nearly there but there's still a way to go - please visit his page here for further details.