Bionic limb company Open Bionics, Bristol, United Kingdom, has teamed up with director James Cameron and his new blockbuster, Alita: Battle Angel, to surprise 13-year-old Tilly Lockey with new bionic arms.
Lockey, who lost both hands after contracting meningitis B at 15 months old, was surprised with a pair of Hero Arms in London before the world premiere of Alita: Battle Angel—a futuristic action film where cyborgs are given bionic limbs. Tilly then took to the blue carpet alongside the movie’s star Rosa Salazar, producer Jon Landau, and Cameron.
The bespoke Hero Arms, inspired by Alita’s berserker body, were created through a collaboration with 20th Century Fox and Open Bionics. The Hero Arm is a medically approved 3D-printed multi-grip bionic arm for people with below-elbow limb differences. Hero Arm users open and close their prosthetic hands and change grips by flexing muscles just below their elbow. Users can also swap covers to match their style, and Open Bionics plans to release Alita: Battle Angel covers in the coming months. The company launched the Hero Arm in the U.K. last year and will be launching in the United States later in 2019. Below-elbow amputees can register interest at www.openbionics.com/hero-arm.
“With the Hero Arm, I can grip a toothbrush, use a knife and fork, brush my hair, and play video games without having to tape the controller to my hand like I used to,” said Lockey. “At school, everyone wants to shake me by the hand. It’s much better to stand out. Blending in with everyone else is really boring. I want others like me who are having a hard time to know you can fight back and there are no limits to what you can do.”
“It has been an absolute privilege to work with the team at Fox on this surprise for Tilly,” said Samantha Payne, co-founder of Open Bionics “Alita is all about technological innovation and female empowerment. Tilly is the perfect real-life example of who Alita is—she uses her bionic arms as a sign of strength.”