A teenager has made a prosthetic arm for himself entirely out of Lego.
Think back when you were a kid. Most of us have played with Lego at some point in our lives. Some of us might have followed the instructions that came in the box, but many more of us probably just made whatever we felt like using those tiny plastic doodads.
Our first builds were probably simple houses. Maybe a few budding engineers built a car or a helicopter. But probably very few of us built a fully-functional prosthetic arm at the tender age of 9 years old.
That’s what David Aguilar did. Today he’s 19 and studying bioengineering at Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Spain, but he started off like the rest of us: with a bunch of plastic bits and a dream.
His dream was to create a prosthetic to augment his right arm. David was born with a genetic birth defect that caused his right arm to develop a little abnormally. He still has a hand, technically, but to the rest of us it probably appears more like a tiny nub.
But he can move it and therefore use it to provide inputs to a prosthetic. Which is exactly what he did.
“As a child I was very nervous to be in front of other guys, because I was different, but that didn’t stop me believing in my dreams,” Aguilar told Reuters in an interview. “I wanted to … see myself in the mirror like I see other guys, with two hands.”
Once David had gotten a bit older, he made a new arm to replace his first build. Then he started a YouTube channel called “Hand Solo” and made a video about his third prosthetic, which he called the Mk III in honor of Iron Man and his suit naming convention.
The Mk III is made from a 4,000-piece set of a crane and uses an electric motor to perform the movements input by David’s right hand.
And now, David has a new Mk VI prosthetic that even has fingers instead of a claw-like hand. He hasn’t posted that to his YouTube page yet as he’s a little too busy with his school work, but you can check it out from David’s original interview.