The Mercedes GP team has helped a 14-year-old Briton get a new prosthetic limb that has already been successfully fitted.
Matthew James, a fan of Mercedes' Formula 1 team, was born without a left hand, but decided to write a letter to Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn, explaining that his target was to be able to afford a functional prosthetic arm created by Touch Bionics, provider of advanced prosthetic technologies. The new hand would give James more control and freedom, as well as a much greater range of motions.
Since the hand was so expensive, the 14-year-old wrote a letter to Brawn and a technical representative from the team contacted Touch Bionics to start initial discussions on what could be done to help.
A privately funded fitting of the i-LIMB Pulse usually costs more than £25,000 ($41,000). Touch Bionics offered its clinical services for the fitting of i-LIMB Pulse hand free of charge, in exchange for access to technology services that have benefited its research and development team.
"Matthew's letter to the team was very touching, and of particular personal significance given my close relationship to Reading School, which both Matthew and I have attended," said Brawn. "Looking closely at the i-LIMB Pulse, we realized how much our technologies in Formula 1 had in common with those used to create this cutting-edge prosthetic limb, and that we may be able to offer some synergies to Touch Bionics to assist their invaluable research. Meeting Matthew, and hearing firsthand how the new device would improve his quality of life, was a pleasure and I am delighted that our initial contact has now led to such a positive conclusion."
Mercedes is now working on helping James raise £10,000 ($16,400) toward the remaining cost of the hand, with his family having set up a fundraising website.