App-Controlled Robot Arm Gives Boy, 9, New Hope

Smartphone app allows users to choose from up to 14 automated grips and gestures to complete daily tasks, such as index point mode for typing or precision pinch mode for gripping small objects.

Photo Caption: Touch Bionics' i-limb ultra robotic arm can be controlled via smartphone.

Josh Cathcart, a 9-year-old boy from Fife, Scotland, was born with his right arm missing from the elbow down.

He was often bullied over his disability, but thanks to an app-controlled robotic arm - and a generous donation from his uncle - Cathcart no longer has to miss out on any activities with his friends. 

The fine folks at Touch Bionics have outfitted Cathcart with an i-limb ultra robot arm that picks up signals from the nerves at the end of his arm when he flexes his muscles.

The robotic arm has several interchangeable skins, but even better, it can all be controlled via the my i-limb app on a smartphone.

Photos: App-Controlled i-limb ultra Robotic Arm

The my i-limb app allows users to customize the hand for their daily needs. You can choose from up to 14 automated grips and gestures to complete daily tasks, such as index point mode for typing or precision pinch mode for gripping small objects.

Touch Bionics also specially designed the index finger on the i-limb ultra so that Cathcart can use it to interact with touch-sensitive screens.

“Josh said he would be better off dead. It’s hard to hear a nine-year-old boy say that,” Cathcart’s father, James, tells the Sunday Post. “Sometimes you forget he only has one arm but then things happen and you realise the toll it takes on him.”

The Cathcart family managed to raise £1,700 in the first 24 hours of fundraising to purchase the arm, but a generous uncle in Australia offered to foot the rest of the bill to get Cathcart the robotic arm sooner.




About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe: scrowe@ehpub.com  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.




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