A British man has been fitted with a prosthetic arm inspired by a character from the classic video game, Metal Gear Solid.
29-year-old Daniel Melville from Reading, who was born without his right hand, is the very first recipient of the Metal Gear Solid arm, modelled on the red and black, gadget-filled arm of the game’s protagonist, Venom Snake.
The Metal Gear Solid design covers the Hero Arm – the world’s most affordable multi-grip bionic arm at around £10,000 – made by Bristol firm Open Bionics.
Hero Arm, which is light, comfortable and ‘fits like a glove’, has the dexterity to hold a mobile phone, cutlery or a pen – and operate machinery such as a lawnmower.
The arm’s movable fingers can also be held in a static position for a safe and reliable grip – and pick up an egg without breaking it.
Daniel Melville, who was born without his right hand, is the first recipient of the Metal Gear Solid desikgn
Hero Arm is already available in a range of exterior casings inspired by pop culture and films, such as such as Ironman and BB8 from Star Wars.
Now, Japanese gaming giant Konami, the creator of Metal Gear Solid, has partnered Open Bionics to bring Venom Snake’s arm to life for Daniel Melville and upper limb amputees around the world.
‘This is unbelievable – it’s everything I’ve ever wanted from a bionic arm,’ said Melville.
‘I’m an avid gamer and love Metal Gear Solid so much and to have Snake’s arm in real life is just insane.’
Venom Snake (pictured) is a fictional character from Konami’s Metal Gear video game series who lost his left arm and the use of his right eye in an explosion
The hand can be held in a static position for a reliable grip when holding a smartphone, for example
Venom Snake is the protagonist of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, released by Konami in 2015.
The fictional character lost his arm in an explosion and wears an iconic red and black bionic arm complete with detachable missiles and gadgets to stun enemies – although this prosthetic version doesn’t hide any weapons.
‘We’re incredibly excited to collaborate with Open Bionics, who are at the cutting edge of robotics,’ said Takayuki Kubo, president of Konami Digital Entertainment.
‘We’re thrilled to see the iconic Metal Gear aesthetic of Venom Snake and his bionic arm burst out of the screen and come to life in a dynamic fusion of technology and design that is changing the lives of upper limb amputees all over the world.’
The new design clips onto Open Bionics’ Hero Arm, which the company says is the world’s most affordable multi-grip bionic arm at around £10,000 – less than half the price of the nearest competitor
The UK-developed arm features the Metal Gear Solid branding thanks to a partnership with the gaming giant Konami
Bristol-based Open Bionics uses 3D printing and scanning to custom-manufacture each Hero Arm for every person who orders one, which can be fitted with a variety of clip-on magnetic covers.
The battery-powered Hero Arm picks up signals from muscles allowing the user to do tasks with both hands.
Sensors within Hero Arm detect muscle movements, meaning users can ‘effortlessly’ control the hand with ‘intuitive life-like precision’.
The arm can be accessorised with a range of magnetic clip-on covers from films and pop culture
HOW DOES ‘HERO ARM’ WORK?
Like other bionic arms, the Hero Arm picks up signals from the wearer’s muscles.
When a user puts on the bionic arm and flexes muscles in their residual limb just below their elbow, special sensors detect tiny, naturally generated electric signals
These are then converted into intuitive and proportional bionic hand movement.
The bionic hand is controlled by tensing the same muscles which are used to open and close a biological hand.
To close the Hero Arm’s hand, and perform the selected grip, the user simply has to imagine flexing the wrist inwards while pulling the fingers into the heel of the hand.
To open the hand, users should imagine extending the wrist with an outstretched palm.
Hero Arm’s wrist can rotate 180 degrees just like a human wrist for picking up objects at awkward angles.
The Hero Arm weighs less than 1kg / 2.2lbs and can lift up to 8 kg (17.64 lbs).
It can be used above 23°F (-5°C) and below 122°F (50°C).
It withstands pressures equivalent to altitudes of up to 16,400 feet, making it safe to use in the cabin of a commercial airliner
Haptic vibrations, beepers, buttons and lights provide the user with notifications.
Each Hero Arm is custom-built using 3D printing and 3D scanning.
It’s powered by a chargeable battery that gives a day’s usage.
Metal Gear Solid designs have been some of the most requested since Open Bionics was founded in 2014 with the aim of developing affordable prosthetics for the human body.
‘We’re delighted to offer this to our users and grateful to Konami for collaborating to make fiction a reality,’ said Samantha Payne, co-founder of Open Bionics
‘It’s pure joy to see this piece of engineering and art impact a person’s life.’
Upper limb amputees can sign-up for a Hero Arm on the company’s website and also choose from a range of other clip-on covers, including Star Wars’ BB-8 and R2-D2, Marvel’s Iron Man and Disney’s Frozen.
Open Bionics makes the hand, socket, and frame to deliver a bespoke prosthesis that’s formed perfectly for each user
This version of Venom Snake’s arm isn’t equipped with weapons like in the video game, but offers ‘an impressive feat of engineering’, Open Bionics says
The futuristic Metal Gear Solid ‘Venom Snake’ cover is now available to order online, as well as the Hero Arm itself