After being electrocuted at work, a young Austrian man named Patrick found that he could no longer move one of his hands. He lived with the injury for a few years, but then decided he’d rather amputate the hand and replace it with something bionic – a synthetic hand controlled by nerve signals from his brain. The new hand would move in ways his old one never could, spinning all the way around on his wrist.
Patrick was just the first person to opt for amputation and a synthetic hand, rather than living with a hand that he could no longer use.
Working with Viennese surgeon Oskar Aszmann, Patrick had his hand amputated last year, and now can use his synthetic hand for almost everything he needs – including tying his shoes. Now Patrick’s story has inspired another voluntary amputee, a man named Milo who lost the use of his hand in a motorcycle accident. As the BBC reports, Milo is about to go under the knife and receive a hand similar to Patrick’s – controlled by signals from his brain, and capable of movement that goes beyond what a human could do.
Unlike other people who have begun to use these brain-controlled prosthetics, Patrick and Milo aren’t replacing a lost limb – they are actually removing limbs in favor of bionics. These young men are among the first humans to chose synthetic body parts over their existing biological ones.