First man in the UK gains a bionic hand

A man who lost his arm in a train accident has recently been given a bionic hand by the NHS and is the first case of this happening in the country. Mike Swainger lost his arm in 1992, when he was 13 years old in a train accident. He was struck by the train when he was playing with friends, and his arm was unrecoverable.

Today, he is 33 years old, and he has been given a new hand, which he has stated has given him a new lease on life. Recently he commented, “This bionic hand is an incredible piece of technology. It works just like a real hand, and is an immense confidence booster. I am able to take on a whole host of different tasks, that it was impossible to do before.

“It is also fascinating to see what people say about it. I have have seen children shout at me on the street saying that I am a robot. This is something that I actually love. My family are also delighted that I have been given this bionic arm.”

The arm has two electrodes which are connected into his muscles, and they measure the electrical signals that are seen in these muscles. The nerve endings create an electrical signal which triggers the hand in a specific way. For example, if Mike tenses his bicep then the hand closes, but if the tenses his tricep, then it opens.

He originally found out about the firm, by doing some research of his own, and offered to be a guinea pig for the company who are creating the piece of technology. Initially he thought that the operation was going to be unavailable on the NHS, but about six months ago he was told that the NHS would cover the operation.