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Brit builds smartphone into prosthetic arm

It was never easy for Brit Trevor Prideaux to use his smartphone. Having been born without a forearm, he had to either balance his phone on his prosthetic arm or find a flat surface every time he wanted to make a call or send a message.

Then he had an idea to somehow embed it into his prosthetic arm. He took his suggestion to Nokia, who, with help from medical experts, came up with a prosthetic into which Trevor’s smartphone – a Nokia C7 – can be slotted.

The 50-year-old from the south-west of England is understandably delighted with his new phone-holding prosthetic.

“I think this is the first time this has ever been done in the world – and it is brilliant,” Prideaux told the Telegraph. “I can now take calls and make texts just by using my one hand, while the phone sits inside my arm.”

He said the creation could help others with prosthetic arms, such as those involved in accidents or soldiers who’ve lost limbs.

Prideaux spoke of when he first tried using a smartphone. “When testing an iPhone, with the thoughts of purchase, I had to balance it on my prosthetic limb to text,” he explained.

“I wondered whether it was possible to have a mobile phone built into my limb, to aid usage. I was born without my arm so I am used to adapting to things – but I thought that others must be struggling too.” 

Prideaux decided to approach Apple with his idea of creating a prosthetic arm into which a smartphone could be slotted, but he made no progress with the Cupertino-based company. After that, he forgot about the idea for a while.

Then, on a recent trip to his local phone shop to upgrade his Nokia device, the idea came back to him. Nokia liked the sound of Prideaux’s proposition and helped him put together a team that included experts from a mobility center near his home and several technicians. Together they created a laminated fibre cast of Prideaux’s smartphone and built it into his prosthetic arm. The project took only five weeks to complete.

“Now when I get call I can either hold my arm up to my ear or put it on speaker phone,” Prideaux said. “I can also take it out if I need to. Texting is also much easier and a lot safer.”

He added: “This is a leap forward which has helped me out a lot and can also aid others.”

[Image: SWNS]

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