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Disabled F1 lad gets new “robot” arm thanks to Mercedes

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Now this isn’t typically the type of gadget story we’d cover. It’s not the new Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy tablet device that you can’t live without – but it’s a fantastic tech related story, and we think it’s well worth telling!

14 year old Formula 1 fan Matthew James from Woking was born without part of a left arm, including a hand, and has been living with the use of a very basic prosthetic limb with an even more basic clamp mechanism. Life’s not easy for the poor lad, but he keeps in high spirits by following his favourite Mercedes F1 team.


Continuing in this upbeat character, and requiring £35,000 for a more advanced prosthetic, he sent a letter to Mercedes amusingly offering to post sponsorship logos on the limb if they could help him reach his goal amount. In a surprising act of kindness Mercedes responded – and after campaigning with sponsors and fellow fans, they reached the needed costs. They then teamed with high-tech prosthetic co. Touch Bionics and made the youngster a new “robotic” limb that he could have only previously dreamed of.

After meetings with Mercedes boss Ross Brawn and Touch Bionics the chuffed teen has just recently been fitted with the “iLimb” – the world’s most advanced robotic limb – allowing him to grip objects, write with a pen and even catch a ball via the artificial attachment which connects to Matthew’s muscles through electrodes to mimic the movements of a real hand. A micro-computer in the palm of the hand allows the wrist to turn and fingers to move independently.

Brawn of Mercedes says “Meeting Matthew, and hearing firsthand how the new device would improve his quality of life, was a pleasure and I am delighted that our initial contact has now led to such a positive conclusion.”

The teen is grateful for Mercedes help in getting him his much desired appendage, but there’s one minor set-back, as Matthew notes: “I’m having to do more chores!”

Check out this video of Matthew showing off his amazing new iLimb – thanks to Mercedes and Touch Bionic!

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