James Young had no idea that one freak accident will turn him into a “part cyborg” through an experiment that fitted him with a high tech prototype bionic arm.
The 22-year-old biological scientist sustained multiple injuries such as fractured skull, face and rib, a crack in his spine and severe damage to his left arm and left leg after falling under the train in Docklands Light Railway in East London four years ago.
Doctors had no choice but to amputate his left limbs and make him wear standard issue NHS prosthetic arm and leg. The prosthetics, which he described as “ugly – peach-coloured and obvious”, had limited capabilities which caused him new problems.
Last year, Young’s life completely changed for the better after an experiment gave him the opportunity to be fitted with a prototype bionic arm. Gaming company Konami chose Young to test the futuristic prosthetic limb powered by a battery.
Sensors attached to the skin of his shoulders detect signals from the muscle. A harness connected to the sensors then operates the limbs. Aside from the ability to take commands from the shoulder muscles, it also features a laser light, a watch, a torch, a USB port and a drone.
In his interview with a BBC documentary, he said: “I didn’t want to look like The Terminator because my job involves talking to doctors about the drugs they use. I didn’t want to look as if I’m going to kill someone.”
However, the bionic arm also has its limitations as he can’t wear it all the time because it weighs 4.7kg. Moreover, it needs regular fine tuning since it’s a prototype.
Young has started a fundraising campaign in order for him to get titanium implants for his left leg and shoulder so he could strengthen it. In the future, he also wants to raise money to get a cyborg leg.