Hi-tech gift arms teen for cello dream

Albert Manero says the arm for Corey Symon is the best his company has ever made
Albert Manero says the arm for Corey Symon is the best his company has ever made

Corey Symon has vowed to learn to play the cello after fitting his bionic arm for the first time yesterday.

The King's High School 14-year-old was born without a right arm but is now the proud owner of a bionic arm built by American company Limbitless Solutions.

The company's executive director Albert Manero (26), of Orlando, Florida, said his non-profit organisation fitted its first bionic arm in August 2014 and Corey's was the 16th the company had produced.

"His is the best we have ever done,'' Mr Manero said.

The technology meant when Corey flexed a muscle, it triggered the fingers on the hand on the 3-D printed bionic arm to open and close.

He is now determined to play the cello and teach himself how to write with his right hand.

The bionic arm replaces a basic prosthesis with a moving thumb.

"I couldn't grip a pencil before,'' he said.

The arm was built in Orlando, using pictures of Corey's right arm.

But on arrival in Dunedin, Mr Manero discovered the arm had more muscle than expected.

"Our sizing was off by 10%. When we got here, we found out he was a little bit stronger and had larger muscles than expected and we had to do some work with Otago Polytechnic in their design lab to ensure a comfortable fit.''

The material to build the arm cost about $485 but families were given the finished product free of charge.

"Hopefully, it helps him with the little things in everyday life ... things we take for granted,'' Mr Manero said.

Mr Manero will give a talk - "Making a Difference - Using 3-D Technology to Change Lives'' - at the New Zealand International Science Festival event at the University of Otago tonight.

- Otago Daily Times

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