Amputee Gamer Gets Bionic Arm That Has Its Own Drone


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

517 Amputee Gamer Gets Bionic Arm That Has Its Own Drone
Omkaar Kotedia

When biological scientist James Young was pulled under a train in London in 2012, he feared the worst. His left foot was severed, and his left arm later had to be amputated to save his life.

But now, four years later, he’s been given a new lease of life thanks to a futuristic-looking prosthetic arm. The $90,000 device is a gadget-lover's dream, being packed full of technology and, of course, sporting a rather enticing look.


It was designed especially for James by Sophie de Oliveira Barata from the Alternative Limb Project and, if you’re a gamer, it might look familiar. James, himself an avid gamer, had the design loosely based on Solid Snake’s bionic limb in Metal Gear Solid V. It was made in partnership with Konami, who make the Metal Gear Solid games.

Together with a group of engineers, roboticists and designers, Barata put the arm together for James last year. Now, the arm is attached to James, and it boasts a number of perks that would make even Snake himself jealous.

It felt strange to be fully clothed in front of the media for once @aannggeellll #alwaysshirtless #bionics #bodyhack

A photo posted by James Young (@jamesahyoung) on


James Young, appearing on BBC News last week


In the wrist of the arm is a smartwatch, something James was unable to use previously when it was on his other arm. The fingers are controllable, and it also doubles as a phone charger thanks to a USB port, while a panel on the outside of the shoulder houses a drone. Yes, a drone that can fly around. Impressive.

The arm, which is detachable and can also light up in various colors, is controlled by James via commands sent by his shoulder muscles to sensors, although he told the Metro that he was still getting to grips with using the bionic arm independently, without the help of his other arm.

To achieve his goal of having two fully independent arms once again, James is currently seeking funding for a procedure called osseointegration, which will basically involve attaching the prosthetic directly to his bone using titanium. If you’d like to help out, you can donate to James’ cause on his GoFundMe page. 

To learn more about James’ incredible story, those in the U.K. can watch the program "Bodyhack: Metal Gear Man" on BBC Three online. You can also follow James' journey on Instagram and Twitter.


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