All kids love playing with LEGO bricks; while some build cars and houses, some kids go on to build prosthetics. That's exactly what David Aguilar from Andorra did. After making headlines for his Guinness World Record in 2017 for the world’s first functional LEGO prosthetic arm, he has now built a LEGO prosthetic arm for an 8-year-old who doesn't have limbs.
Engineering prosthetics out of LEGO bricks
Born with a congenital disease named Poland Syndrome, David was born without a right forearm. Aguilar says he was bullied in school as a young kid for being different. His condition, however, did not stop him from dreaming big; through creativity, he turned his difference into something truly authentic.
Aguilar, also known as "Hand Solo", started designing his first prosthetic arm out of LEGO bricks at the tender age of nine. Further building on his initial design, Aguilar successfully created the first working prosthetic arm out of LEGO in 2017, exactly nine years later at the age of 18.
He named the mechanical prosthetic MK-I after comic-book hero Iron Man's Mark 1 suit with a LEGO technic helicopter set. The first prosthetic arm had an elbow joint and a clasp to pick things up that the user could work by bending their elbow. After giving it more thought, he decided to motorize his creation to be able to control the LEGO fingers with his arm movements.
David Aguilar is now studying bioengineering and is planning to build more prosthetics using cheaper materials with smart designs. His unique and affordable designs caught the attention of Beknur's family, who is an eight-year-old who struggles with carrying out simple tasks due to his underdeveloped limbs. The family contacted Aguilar if he could build a prosthetic arm out of LEGO bricks. After hearing about Beknur, he decided to build two for each arm.
Aguilar lovingly named the prosthetics MK-Beknur and eMK-Beknur. He can use one for picking up objects and the other for using a tablet. What's more, building them cost just $18 (€15).
While there are 2.1 million people living with limb loss in the U.S., it's reassuring to see such authentic prosthetic builds around the world using simple materials with the help of ingenious engineering and creativity.