A British man recently became the first person in the world to have a cell phone embedded in his arm–his prosthetic arm, that is. Trevor Prideaux was born without his left arm and has worn a prosthetic since he was three. Whenever he wanted to use his cell phone, he had to balance it on his prosthetic arm or place it on a table. Now Prideaux can text and call family and friends from his Nokia C7 that is perfectly embedded into his prosthetic limb. “I think this is the first time this has ever been done in the world – and it is brilliant,” he said.
“I can now take calls and make texts just by using my one hand, while the phone sits inside my arm,” said Prideaux. “The phone slots smoothly and securely within my limb and is easily removable, when required. I think this would help a lot of people with prosthetic arms – especially those who were not born with the disability.
“People who have had motorbike crashes and soldiers who have lost limbs – they could all benefit from this.”
The 50-year-old catering manager and father of one lives with his partner, Amanda, in Wedmore, Somerset. When mobile phones became the norm, Prideaux struggled with sending texts and making calls with one arm. “From owning a mobile phone and with the invention of the iPhone, it became clear that this piece of technology was not ideally suited to be used with only one hand,” he said.
He first got the idea to have his phone embedded into his arm when he was trying to test out an iPhone he was thinking of buying. “When testing an iPhone, with the thoughts of purchase, I had to balance it on my prosthetic limb to text,” he said. “I wondered whether it was possible to have a mobile phone built into my limb, to aid usage. I was born without my arm so I am used to adapting to things – but I thought that others must be struggling too.”
Prideaux contacted communications giant Apple to see if he could get a blank iPhone casing to test, but he got nowhere. Prideaux shelved his idea until he made a trip to his local cell phone shop to have his Nokia upgraded. He again mentioned his idea to the staff, and they helped him bring it to fruition. Technicians at the Exeter Mobility Centre in Devon, where Prideaux always got his limbs made, created a laminated fiber-cast of his Nokia phone and built a new prosthetic limb according to the phone’s specifications. Then they carved a phone-shaped fiber-cast cradle for the Nokia C7 to sit inside.
“This phone is slightly narrower than an iPhone and has both a qwerty and alphanumeric board, which is easier for me to use,” said Prideaux. “My Nokia C7 sits within my forearm, between my stump socket and the single knob rotary that holds my limb attachments in place. Now when I get call I can either hold my arm up to my ear or put it on speaker phone. I can also take it out if I need to. Texting is also much easier and a lot safer. I am hugely grateful to the people EMC. This is a leap forward which has helped me out a lot and can also aid others.”