Bionic Arm Answers Vicar-in-Training Prayers By Reuters

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4/4 © Reuters. Priest-in-training Daniel Cant holds up a cross while demonstrating his bionic arm for the British company Open Bionics at Christ Church in Colchester 2/4

By Stuart McDill COLCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Sixteen years after losing his right arm in a car accident, a Colchester vicar-in-training has had his prayers answered thanks to a bionic arm. Now a father of three, Daniel Cant, 42, remembers the first time he was able to hug his children with two arms. “They have never known that I have two limbs and that I can come home … and just give that hug … there are no words,” Cant told Reuters. “The tears, the joy and the absolute silence”. After the accident and during an intense seven-month rehabilitation period, Cant had to learn to walk again, but noticed how restrictive daily activities with one arm were. It was his six-year-old son, Aaron, who made the discovery online that would transform his father’s life. “One morning we heard Aaron scream from below … he was very jubilant. On investigating we found him sitting on the couch with his tablet and (he) said ‘I found it, I found it,’ Cant said. What Aaron had found was the Bionic ‘Hero Arm’ from the British company Open Bionics. The Hero Arm prosthesis uses myoelectric sensors that detect the underlying muscle contractions generated by specific muscle groups in the arm. These are then amplified and turned into intuitive and proportional bionic hand movements. Within hours of his first test, Cant went from living without a right arm for more than a decade to being able to throw a ball and write his name. “It basically picks up signals from the difference of the limb, so the amputation stump. To operate the hand we make two movements that are the opening and closing of the wrist and then to change different settings we have a button that we press,” he said. Qty. “Literally in our first meeting, within half an hour after placing the electrodes and sensors, it was working. The first time I was able to open and close a hand it was incredible. Cant is now an assistant at Christ Church Parish in Colchester, Essex, as he prepares for the priesthood and hopes to be ordained later this year. And being ‘bionic’ is something Cant says he’s slowly getting used to. “I spent a lot of time hiding and with my arm behind my back when talking to people, not wanting to attract attention. But the bionic and the bionic being, they have nicknamed me ‘the bionic Rev’, I think it is the most empowering language that I’ve seen disability around. ”

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