UK Boy First to Receive a Prosthetic Arm Above the Elbow

A UK inventor developer a hydraulic arm that can grip things.
Donna Fuscaldo

A five-year old UK boy was finally able to properly hug his baby brother thanks to a GoFundMe campaign and an inventor in Anglesey. 

According to media reports, Jacob Scrimshaw became the first boy in the UK to receive a prosthetic arm above the elbow, enabling him to engage in all sorts of tasks including hugging his brother.

Jacob Scrimshaw hugging his brother
Jacob Scrimshaw finally gets to hug his brother. Source: BBC screen grab.


GoFundMe was half the battle 

The boy, who was born with a portion of his left arm missing, was becoming increasingly frustrated with his limited movement, prompting his family to seek help. The government normally doesn't cover a prostehtic for a child so Jacob's parents  Gemma Turner and Chris Scrimsaw launched a GoFundMe account. They raised £16,000 over a seven month period, using the proceeds to have a prosthetic limb made for him. 

But raising money was only half the problem. They quickly learned most prosthetics manufacture don't make functioning limbs for when the limb ends above the elbow. They did some research and found an inventor Ben Ryan on Instagram who had developed a hydraulic design after his son's arm was amputated.

3D printing speeds up the process

They approached Ryan to design one for Jacob.  Ryan designed and created his 3D printed hydraulic prosthetic arm on a Stratasys Connex 3D Printer. The unit enables the wearer to open and close the thumb either in manual mode or with assistive power via a hydraulic pump. The grip will operate manually if there is a power interruption. Thanks to 3D printing, Ryan can create the prosthetic in five days, much shorter than the typical 11 weeks it takes for a plaster cast to be turned into a wearable prosthetic.