Former Ukrainian Soldier Vitalli Ivashuk looking at open bionics 'hero arm' 13012023 Credit Open Bionics
Former Ukrainian Soldier Vitalli Ivashuk looking at Open Bionic's 'Hero Arm' (Picture: Open Bionics).
Technology

British tech firm delivers state-of-the-art bionic arms to Ukrainian soldiers wounded by landmines

Former Ukrainian Soldier Vitalli Ivashuk looking at open bionics 'hero arm' 13012023 Credit Open Bionics
Former Ukrainian Soldier Vitalli Ivashuk looking at Open Bionic's 'Hero Arm' (Picture: Open Bionics).

A British tech company creating state-of-the-art bionic arms for amputees has flown to Germany to begin fitting bionic hands to two wounded Ukrainian soldiers.

Andrii Gidzun and Vitalii Ivashchuk will receive Hero Arms after both suffered mine-explosive injuries to their hands resulting in amputations.

Open Bionics is the Bristol-based creator of the Hero Arm, an advanced 3D-printed bionic arm for amputees.

Its CEO, Joel Gibbard MBE, travelled with his team to Munich, Germany, where they delivered clinical training to three Ukrainian clinicians and met with their first two patients.

Andrii was admitted to the hospital in April 2022, and Vitalii in June 2022, and they were able to try out the arm this week in Munich.

A British Army veteran who lost part of his arm in Afghanistan was the first person to receive a 3D-printed 'Hero Arm' on the NHS, in 2020.

Darren 'Daz' Fuller - first person to receive a Hero Arm on NHS 170220 CREDIT OPEN BIONICS.jpg
Darren 'Daz' Fuller was the first person to receive a Hero Arm on the NHS (Picture: Open Bionics).

The Hero Arm has a moveable thumb and fingers that allow them to pinch and grasp objects.

It is controlled by sensors that are activated by muscles in the forearm.

Ukrainian Vitalii, 24, said testing the Hero Arm was a "very cool feeling".

He said: "I cannot describe it. I am pleased that I have such an opportunity to get such a functional prosthesis.

"I did not even hope for it. When the electrodes were applied and I had the opportunity to test this prosthesis, I just enjoyed it. I was pleased, to put it mildly."

Open bionics 'hero arm' is controlled by sensors and has a moveable thumb and fingers 13012023 CREDIT Open Bionics
Open bionics 'hero arm' is controlled by sensors and has a moveable thumb and fingers (Picture: Open Bionics).

Charitable foundation Superhumans organised the mission to Germany and the men's prostheses were funded by Mastercard, which is supporting the foundation to raise £33m to build a specialist hospital in the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

The Superhumans Centre is being developed in collaboration with Ukraine's Ministry of Health and will work with Open Bionics to provide prostheses, rehabilitation and counselling to civilians and soldiers who have lost limbs as a result of the war.

First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska serves as a board member.

Image ID 2GRHP6W Open Bionics founders Joel Gibbard MBE and Samantha Payne MBE creators of 'Hero Arm' 29062021 CREDIT Alamy Stock Photo EXP 18012024.jpg
Open Bionics founders Joel Gibbard MBE and Samantha Payne MBE, creators of the Hero Arm (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo).

The mission to Germany was to begin the process of fitting the first two soldiers with their bionic hands and to ensure that clinicians on the ground in Ukraine are able to deliver care to both civilians and soldiers, at scale, long-term and sustainably.

Superhumans CEO Olga Rudneva said: "The philosophy of Superhumans is that our patients receive the best medical service at home, next to their families, in their own language."

She added: "Once the Superhumans Centre opens, it will take up to 3,000 patients each year. All services will be free for patients thanks to partners and donors."

According to reports, 82,000 sq km of Ukrainian territory is mined, which is around 15% of the country, reportedly making Ukraine the most mined territory in the world right now.

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