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Grasping history: First civilian bionic arm

NEED TO KNOW
  • Wisconsin man is the first U.S. civilian to get a bionic arm
  • The device is thought-controlled and has an opposable thumb
  • Only 10 U.S. soldiers have received this arm in the past
Grasping history: First civilian bionic arm

Matt Razink is the first civilian in the U.S. to receive a bionic arm.

HLN affiliate WCCO reports that the electric prosthetic is called the Michelangelo Hand. The electrodes in the bionic arm connect to the nerves above Razink’s elbow, which allows him to control his new device with his mind.

“If I want to close it, I think wrist down,” Razink tells the affiliate.

The Pioneer Press reports that the bionic arm comes with a heavy price tag: $100,000. Because of such high costs, Advanced Arm Dynamics, the company that fitted the prosthetic, hasn't made the product available to the general public. Until now, the company has only crafted the Michelangelo Hand for 10 U.S. soldiers.

Just 24 hours after having it fitted, the Wisconsinite says he’s already used to his new arm. He lost his original in a construction accident in 2006 and has had regular prosthetics before, but says they all pale by comparison to the Michelangelo Hand. The biggest difference? It feels more natural and makes everyday chores easier for him. Without it, he says, "everything you do -- from grabbing your glasses off the nightstand to getting dressed, tying your shoes, zipping your jacket -- everything becomes a task.”

He’s still no Six Million Dollar Man, but because of his new arm, he is able to go back to his construction job. For Razink, that’s a huge weight lifted.

“When I realized I didn’t have an arm, and I couldn’t go back to work, that was huge for me. That was the hardest part,” he says.

He’s also back to taking care of his three kids (instead of needing their help) and getting his life “back to be like I used to be,” he says.

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