Imagine trying to use your smartphone with just one arm. Not easy, right? That was the problem vexing Trevor Prideaux, a 50-year-old British dad who was born without a left forearm. Frustrated with having to balance his phone on his prosthetic arm or find a flat table to rest it on, he came up with an innovative solution: He had a smartphone dock built into his prosthetic arm, making him something of a "bionic" man. Here's how he did it:
What type of phone did he choose?
He initially wanted to test the idea with a new iPhone, but when Prideaux asked Apple for a blank iPhone casing, "the communications giant refused to cooperate," says Britain's Telegraph. So Prideaux upgraded his old Nokia C7, and technicians at the Exeter Mobility Center made a cast of his phone, then created a special prosthetic that could hold the device in place. Prideaux says that since the Nokia phone "has both a QWERTY and alphanumeric board," it's actually easier for him to use than an iPhone.
How does the smartphone dock into the arm?
"My Nokia C7 sits within my forearm, between my stump socket and the single knob rotary that holds my limb attachments in place," he says. Essentially, it's right in the middle of the underside of his fiberglass-and-laminate forearm. Now, whenever he receives a call, he can hold his arm up to his ear or put it on speaker phone with his free hand. The arrangement also lets Prideaux play games and send text messages with ease
Are smartphone limbs in store for other amputees?
Perhaps. At this point, the fiberglass, skin-colored appendage is just a prototype, but Prideaux thinks that "people who have had motorbike crashes and soldiers who have lost limbs" could also benefit from a device like his.