Rethinking Healthcare

A prosthetic arm with a built-in smartphone dock

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A British man born without a left arm can now hold his prosthesis up to his ear to receive calls on his Nokia C7 and use just one hand to text, no balancing act required.

A British man was born without his left arm. And now, he’s the world’s first patient to ever have a smartphone docking system in his prosthetic arm.

Trevor Prideaux used to have to balance the smartphone on his prosthesis or put it on a flat surface to use it. With the phone embedded into his new fiberglass and laminate arm, he can call and text using one arm, without having to move the phone. The Telegraph reports.

Prideaux has worn a prosthetic limb made at Exeter Mobility Centre in Devon since he was 3 years old. However, recently, “from owning a mobile phone and with the invention of the iPhone, it became clear that this piece of technology was not ideally suited to be used with only one hand,” he says.

Doctors teamed up with Nokia to build this new prosthetic especially. (Prideaux contacted Apple to try and get a hold of a blank iPhone casing to test it out, but he said the company refused to cooperate.)

After making a laminated fiber cast of his Nokia C7, the team carved a phone-shaped cradle to fit the phone into a prototype, made in just 5 weeks.

"My Nokia C7 sits within my forearm, between my stump socket and the single knob rotary that holds my limb attachments in place,” he explains. Now when he gets a call, he can hold his arm up to his ear.

CNET's got some photos here.

People with disabilities often get left behind when it comes to technology, Time explains; new cars, computers and phones are rarely designed with them in mind. NPR reports that while improved medical care has reduced soldier deaths, the number of soldiers who lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan nearly doubled from 2009 to 2010.

Via Telegraph.

Image: Nokia Europe

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Janet Fang

Contributing Editor

Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure