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Mercedes helps buy teenager a bionic hand

Back in December 2009, we told you about Touch Bionics’ ProDigits bionic finger, one of the first powered bionic solutions for people who have lost fingers. The technology was heralded for its innovative use of individual motors in each finger joint, its ease of use, and, well… its astronomical price tag.

In the time since their initial announcement, the upper-limb bionics specialists have moved on to creating full bionic hands, and a 14-year-old boy in the U.K. recently became the proud owner of one such hand, thanks to the Mercedes F1 team.

F1 fan Matthew James sent the boss of the Mercedes team a letter asking for the team’s help in buying one of Touch Bionics’ artificial hands, called the i-Limb Pulse. James was born with a congenital defect that caused his left arm to only develop up to his wrist.

In return for their help buying the bionic hand — which cost upwards of $57,000 — James offered to let the team advertise on his artificial hand, similar to the way advertisers promote their companies and products on F1 cars.

According to The Telegraph, the team’s leader was moved by James’ “intelligent and moving” letter, and though they couldn’t pay for the bionic hand outright, they helped raise enough money to get him outfitted with the i-Limb Pulse.

The high-tech limb now allows James to do a wide variety of activities that had previously been difficult due to the limitations of standard artificial limb technology. Even better, the i-Limb is Bluetooth-enabled, allowing James to connect it to his computer to fine-tune various settings.