Having lost his arm during an accident in 2013, engineer Maxim Lyashko used the tragedy as an impetus to start his own lab and eventually develop Russia’s first 3D-printed bionic arm, according to Press TV.
Developed in Lyashko’s Moscow-based lab, Max Bionic, the bionic arm is said to be operated with an external power source and is priced at just $1,500, whereas similar prosthetic arms can cost $25,000 or more. What’s even more interesting is a feature called “phantom management,” which supposedly allows the arm to respond to a person’s thoughts. If this is indeed a real, functioning feature of the bionic arm, it would be a remarkable invention for humankind, allowing for a dizzying array of actions and ultimately giving people with disabilities a shot at experiencing an even more advanced life than before.
At first glance, however, I must admit that when I saw the term “phantom management,” it made me think of the video game series Metal Gear Solid, and in particular, the latest incarnation, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. In this game, the protagonist, Snake, has a bionic arm that can perform a variety of functions, ranging from delivering a non-lethal electric shock to firing off a rocket. What’s even more interesting is that the bionic arm in this game was based off of a bionic arm possessed by the antagonist of a previous Metal Gear Solid game, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. And, coincidentally, the antagonist of that game was a Russian, named Vladimir Zadornov.
Of course, this could all be just a coincidence, or even just a hoax aimed at garnering publicity for Lyashko and his lab. Or perhaps Lyashko was inspired by Metal Gear Solid and decided to create the arm as a sort of tribute to the game. While this last scenario is unlikely, what is likely is that low-cost prostheses will become a commonplace thing in society and people who have lost limbs will have access to affordable, functional solutions that will help them perform tasks they were previously unable to perform, and more.