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Amputee designs prosthetic mitten

Alex Lewis with Nate Macabuag at a table
Alex Lewis with Nate Macabuag at a table Image credit: itv.com

Children who rely on prosthetic regularly require new artificial limbs as they continue to grow which means regular trips to their local clinic.

But such services are remaining closed through lockdown causing unsettlement for young amputees and their families.

It’s a concern which hasn’t been overlooked by Alex Lewis from Stockbridge who lost all four limbs when he caught a serious virus which started with a cold when he was younger.

The illness disfigured his face and attacked the immune system, he then contracted Necrotising Fasciitis which started eating away at his flesh leading to amputation.

Becoming an amputee hasn’t held Alex back though, he’s kayaked in Greenland, skydived in South Africa and climbed the highest mountain in Ethiopia in a hand cycle.

He’s also supported charities such as the Red Cross and the World Health Organization as well as helping amputees around the globe.

Alex’s current venture was inspired after he signed up for a project launched by Imperial College in London where the students were creating a bionic arm controlled by vibrations in the muscles.

Noticing the difference such an artificial limb can make he asked if the college could come up with a similar, more affordable device.

Engineering master student Nate Macabuag (pictured above opposite Alex) believed he was just the man for the job after designing a flexible mitten which the two have been manufacturing in their bedrooms through the COVID-19 pandemic under their ‘Project Limitless’ brand.

Explaining how the prosthetic works Macabuag told ITV News: “You have like a flexible sleeve that you just sort of slip on and then tighten to your liking like tying your shoelaces and then instead of having really complicated, heavy hands on the end you have simple tools that you clip into, clip out of, and interchange.

“I was talking to a little boy and I was asking him, what do you want your hand to do? And if you ask parents, adults they're like eat, button a shirt, tie my shoelaces and he sort of thought about it and he said I want a laser in it and I said yes, you need a laser in it... of course you need a laser in it.

Alex Lewis plans to hand cycle across the Gobi Desert in Mongolia later this year.