Meet the 19-year-old student using Lego to create prosthetic arms

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David Aguilar built his first Lego prosthetic arm when he was only nine – 10 years later he's using his love and passion for building blocks to empower others. (Photo: Instagram)
David Aguilar built his first Lego prosthetic arm when he was only nine – 10 years later he's using his love and passion for building blocks to empower others. (Photo: Instagram)

From planes to cars – David Aguilar from Spain can build anything with Lego and has made history by creating the world’s first fully functional robotic prosthetic arm using the colourful blocks.

“I can do push ups with this thing. It’s quite strong,” 19-year-old David says proudly.

Born with the Poland Syndrome birth defect, which means he has no right forearm, David started experimenting with building Lego prosthetics when he was nine years old and with each passing year his efforts grew more ambitious.

Using a Lego Technic helicopter set, which is more sophisticated than the traditional building blocks, David was able to create his latest model, the MK2, which boasts a battery-operated bicep – so when he attaches it to his shoulder and pulls on a cord, the hand closes.

Growing up different from other kids, David was often the target of bullies but thanks to his Lego arm he’s having the last laugh and has even dubbed himself “Hand solo”.

He’s studying bio-engineering at the International University of Catalonia in Spain and is intent on using his passion to help others.

He recently assisted an eight-year-old from France – known only as Beknur – who was born without arms and knees, a condition known as Phocomelia.

Beknur’s mom contacted David via email hoping that he would be able to assist her son with a Lego arm. This came after doctors told the family that they wouldn’t be able to provide their son with a prosthetic.

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It took David just 10 minutes, and cost €15 (about R248), to build the MK Beknur, created in the boy’s honour.

With a ring placed on Beknur’s toe as a gripper and a string attached to it like a pulley, he can open and close the prosthetic. He can also pick up items and the prosthetic has a pen/stylus feature that allows him to use his iPad easily.

“Beknur told me that since I am Hand Solo, he would be Hand Zero because he has no hand,” David says.

It took the boy just minutes to master the new prosthetic which will now make his life easier.

Sources: CNN, ECR, Instagram, Nius

 

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