Tuesday, January 18

Lego for prosthesis: the incredible idea of ​​a young Andorran, born without forearms

At five years old, David Aguilar discovered Lego, toys that have become a refuge in the face of mockery about his disability. Ingenious, he built, with these small parts, his first prosthesis at the age of 9 and has just realized his dream of sharing it with another child.

Now 22 years old, David, suffering from Poland syndrome, was born without a right forearm.

But this rare malformation did not slow down her life and, on the contrary, fed her.

This Andorran student, fan of robots when he was a child, does not have much free time: on the verge of completing his training in bioengineering, he gives lectures on motivation, published a book, participated in the “Lego Masters” program on the French channel M6 and even spoke at a NASA conference on innovation.

His face contorts when he thinks back to the years when his Lego was also a refuge.

“When I was a teenager, I continued to play Lego because it was a way of forgetting the harassment, it helped me a lot to ignore the mockery”, he explains in his university residence near Barcelona. , in northeastern Spain.

During these difficult years, David developed, at the age of 17, a more precise prosthesis allowing him to do his first push-ups with both arms.

And today, he proudly presents the fifth version of his prosthesis, the MK5, a robotic-looking Lego arm with blue bars acting as fingers that David activates with a movement of his stump, thanks to a system of motorized pulleys.

Used to living without his right forearm, David does not use it on a daily basis but he is aware that many people have an absolute need to wear a prosthesis which can cost thousands of euros for those of the latest generation. .

“Since making my first prosthesis, I realized that I had the power to help other people and when I saw myself in the mirror with two arms (thanks to the prosthesis), I thought that other people would really need it “, he said.

– A prosthesis for Beknur, born without arms –

David then created his YouTube channel where he is called “Hand Solo”, a play on words based on the word Hand and referring to the character of Star Wars, Han Solo.

And quickly, his story crossed borders.

Thus, a few months ago, Zaure Bektemissova wrote to him because her 8-year-old son, Beknur, born without arms, cannot wear a conventional prosthesis.

“The prostheses are mostly large and heavy, which is not good for her spine,” explains this Kazakhe, who has been living in Strasbourg for two years where her husband is a diplomat at the Consulate General of Kazakhstan.

David then promises to try to build a prosthesis for Beknur. And at the end of August, the little boy and his mother went to Andorra to try this light prosthesis ending in a clamp that Beknur controls thanks to a rope connected to his left foot.

“Now I can catch things, which I couldn’t do before,” rejoiced Beknur, now able to throw a ball at his brother or take a small computer.

Some Lego pieces that changed his life. “He has more confidence in himself,” said Zaure, with a big smile.

In David’s mind, projects are flowing. “If I did it for Beknur, why not for a boy or a girl who is missing a leg?”


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