Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

Student fitted with bionic hand

A student who had his hand ripped off in an accident has become the second person in the UK to be fitted with a revolutionary bionic replacement.

Evan Reynolds, 19, from Haslemere, Surrey, said it took him minutes to get used to the prosthetic, which has five separately working fingers.

His brother contacted Livingston-based firm Touch Bionic that makes the hand after it was featured on television.

Mr Reynolds lost his left hand when the car he was in scraped a post in 2006.

He had been resting it on the vehicle's wound-down window ledge when it hit a wooden stake at the exit of a car park and his hand was amputated.

'Changed my life'

Mr Reynolds, a sports biology student at the University of West of England in Bristol, said: "It was very nasty. It was amputated in a second.

"I always wanted to join the Army, that was what I wanted to do with my life, I dreamed of going to Sandhurst. Obviously I couldn't join the Army any more, I was devastated."

However Mr Reynolds said since he had the i-Limb hand fitted it meant he could do lots of everyday task again.

He added: "I put it on and within minutes I was using it as well as I can today.

"People always ask how it's changed my life, but there's no specific thing. It's the hundreds of everyday things you take for granted, which I can do again - like peeling a potato, catching a ball, holding a bottle of water.

"I'm incredibly grateful to my brother for looking it up and to Touch Bionics for developing the hand."

Top innovation

Mr Reynolds said his injury had not stopped him playing sport but he took the prosthetic off before he took part in rugby or squash and would not be wearing it for a planned skydive.

The bionic hand took 20 years to develop and has five separately working fingers.

This makes it more versatile than previous prosthetic hands, which have often been hook-like and limited to simple opening and closing movements.

The i-limb hand has a much wider range of capabilities. It has a credit-card grip, for taking hold of narrow objects, and a power hold for larger objects such as mugs.

In 2008 it was named alongside the Super Hadron Collider in Time magazine's top 50 innovations.

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