Not too many kids can say that their dad created their own arm. First-time father Ben Ryan could definitely win an award for being a “Super dad.” When his son, baby Sol, was born, his left arm developed clots in a complicated labor and his little arm had to be amputated. The doctors at the hospital told Ben that his son would need to wait to be fitted for a plastic prosthetic arm which could take over a year. Getting an electric arm that moved could take up to three years. Even though Ben had zero background knowledge in product design, he taught himself how to create a baby bionic arm for his child. The heroic dad quit his job as a psychology lecturer to take time out to learn how to create the arm. He taught himself how to design the model and use the scanner and 3D printer.
The design of the bionic arm was inspired by spiders legs and how they use hydraulics. Daily Mail explained that Ben “devised a simple fluid pressure pad which is ‘squashed’ by Sol’s elbow bone. The fluid is sent down a pipe into a bellow, which operates a lever and opens the finger and thumb grip.”
Thinking about what baby Sol would be unable to do is what motivated him. He said, “I kept thinking he would never be able to box or play guitar – all the things I had done as a kid.” When the doctors told Ben that they would be unable to provide a viable arm for his son, he said, “that was just not good enough, I thought I could do better for my son.”
Since Baby Sol started using the new arm that his dad made, he is now capable of doing many more activities. Daddy Ryan said, “for me the driving force has always been Sol. He is nearly two now and loves reading books, but even doing something as simple as turning a page is difficult because the book slides off his knee. By encouraging him to use both arms during this period of early brain development, we believed Sol would become more likely to adopt prosthetics later on.
Ryan told Daily Mail, “having a bionic arm will allow him to grip the book, it’s that simple. At the moment he wears my prototype occasionally, I won’t let him wear it all the time until we have put it through all the correct medical trials and tests. But I know this prosthetic has the potential to revolutionize the lives of millions of children and babies born without limbs in the future.”