Groom born without hand has bionic arm modified so he can finally wear wedding ring

Yahoo! News

A groom born without a left hand has had his new bionic arm specially redesigned so he can proudly wear his wedding ring.

Luke Medland, 31, was fitted with the latest carbon-fibre mechanical hand seven months ago, and his new limb moves like a real human hand.

It responds through electrodes to muscle twitches on his upper arm and allows him to do everyday tasks like holding on to tube trains as any ordinary commuter.

But Luke, married for six years to wife Nancy, 28, found his wedding ring kept slipping off the £10,000 space-age prosthetic.

He asked the manufacturers to redesign the lower arm, which experts did by dismantling the parts and re-fitting the ring.

They removed a portion of the gold and then moulded it to the same shape as the prosthetic finger, then tested it before strapping it back on to Luke this week.

The delighted father-of-two, from Wokingham, Berks. now has the ring permanently on his false finger - even when he takes off the attachment.

He said: 'It feels great to be wearing my wedding ring again - it's really special.

'It is nice for both my wife and I that I am able to wear it again and show the commitment we made to each other.

'It also takes away the slightly menacing look of the bionic hand.

'I used to wear a prosthetic that I could fit my ring over, but the new hand is smooth so my ring would just fall off.

'It felt amazing to be able to do so many things which are normal for most people. But the fact I couldn't wear my wedding ring was a downside.

'We mentioned this in passing to the manufacturers and were thrilled when they said they’d try to sort something out. They did a great job of it.'

Luke tried various different prosthetic hands - some cosmetic focused and some mechanical - for 20 years after being born with no left hand.

He was approached by Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital seven months ago and asked if he would like to trial their latest hand - the most high-tech available in the world.

He controls the arm by sending signals from his brain to the muscles in his lower arm, which are detected by sensors that trigger one of 14 pre-programmed grips, mirroring human movements.

The hand, with aluminium and alloy knuckles, is so sensitive Luke can now hold a piece of paper and double click a mouse with it. 

He is one of just seven people in the world to be given the arm as part of a trial, which it is hoped will see the electronic arm made widely available on the NHS.


He added: 'My hand is pretty cool - it is like something from Terminator.

'I'd tried a series of prosthethics before, but they were all quite cumbersome.

'Some children are scared of my hand, but most say 'wow' and think it is like something out of a film. My five-year-old son says it reminds him of Iron Man.'

Bruce Rattray, product manager at RSLSteeper who manufacture the hands, said: 'When Luke first trialled the hand, we encouraged him to undergo numerous tests in a variety of everyday situations.

'This included using it on the crowded tube during rush hour, typing on a computer, making a sandwich and using a Kindle. By and large, everything went to plan.

'What we hadn't accounted for was the wedding ring. It was a pleasure to solve the problem.'

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