8-year-old born missing lower arm gets new Iron Man-inspired ‘Hero Arm’

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Eight-year-old Lewisburg resident James Parris is grabbing life by the horns, becoming one of the first people in Ohio to be fitted with a new, 3-D printed Hero Arm.

The prosthetic appendage is the first medically certified 3D printed bionic arm of its kind used to easily manipulate and grip items during daily activities like writing, playing sports, and performing tasks around the house.

James was initially fitted for the Hero Arm at the Hanger Clinic in Dayton last week, and he said he’s already beginning to experience a new side of life, riding his bike and using his new hand to practice intricate tasks.

“I kind of did like a piano a little with it. And I threw a ball and I picked up seashells.”

James, who was born missing the lower part of his left arm, decided to start with the Iron Man design, and he said he’s enjoying the feedback he’s been receiving on his new look. Instead of people asking questions about his birth defect, James said it’s nice to show off his new abilities and the Avengers-themed design of his prosthetic.

“It makes me feel good about myself,” James explained.

James’s Dayton-based, Hanger Clinic prosthetist, Jason Baity, said the technology in the Hero Arm is similar to other myoelectric devices, using electrodes to respond to extensions of the muscles. But he said it’s the 3D printing, lightweight design, and advanced gripping capabilities of the arm that make it unique.

“That is one unique thing about the Hero Arm, is the different types of grip patterns that it has. So obviously it’s nice to be able to wave, but that’s not going to allow you to do everything. You need to be able to move individual fingers and things of that nature.”

James’ mom, Melissa Parris, explained it’s been a long journey for her son, and since his first fitting, she’s noticed a boost in his confidence. She added, now, she’ s excited to see a new world of new opportunities at his fingertips.

“Before, he rode his bike. He didn’t ride it as long as he does now. Just being able to grip it, it makes it so much easier for him to ride it. Just to see him doing little tasks like when he mows the lawn, it makes it so much easier for him to be able to steer the lawn mower or to open car doors. I’m just thankful for everything.”

Baity added, the arm is not modular, so James will need to get a new one as he grows. James added, with the help of his Hero Arm, he hopes to one day start his own lawn care business.

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