Daniel Melville has a real 3D-printed bionic arm based on the Metal Gear Solid video game series. And that’s something special, because Melville was born without a right hand.
Open Bionics and Metal Gear Solid publisher Konami teamed up to create a Venom Snake bionic arm for Melville, who lives in Reading in the United Kingdom.
I talked with Melville back in 2018, when he came into the media spotlight as an ambassador for Open Bionics. The company created an artificial limb that was based on the character Adam Jensen in the Square Enix and Eidos Montreal science-fiction game Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
That game envisions a future where people augmented themselves with artificial body parts, such as powerful bionic limbs. The main character, Adam Jensen, helps root out a conspiracy against “augs,” or augmented humans, who received discrimination from “naturals.”
Melville became a tester and brand ambassador for Open Bionics. Square Enix partnered with Open Bionics and Razer to create a real 3D-printed Deus Ex arm. And Melville was able to wear a more advanced version of that arm, complete with customizable faceplates that made him look like Adam Jensen.
Now, 29-year-old Melville qualifies as an aug for sure. A couple of years ago, the artificial limb was just a prop. Melville couldn’t use it or manipulate the hand. The new artificial limb has a multi-grip bionic hand.
Melville gets the real deal, and as a one-handed gamer, he has been dreaming of this his whole life. As Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang put it in an interview, “We’re living in science fiction.”
“This is unbelievable. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted from a bionic arm,” said Melville, in a statement. “I’m an avid gamer and love Metal Gear Solid so much and to actually have Snake’s arm in real life is just insane.”
Venom Snake, a mercenary leader voiced by Kiefer Sutherland, is the protagonist of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which was released in 2015 to critical acclaim. The fictional character lost his arm in an explosion and wears an iconic red and black bionic arm complete with detachable missile functionality and gadgets to stun enemies.
While the Hero Arm isn’t equipped with weapons, it is an impressive feat of engineering that is changing the lives of hundreds of upper limb amputees; both adults and children as young as 8.
Bristol, U.K.-based Open Bionics uses 3D printing and 3D scanning, along with software and design to custom-manufacture each Hero Arm, which can then be accessorized with magnetic clip-on covers. The Metal Gear Solid Venom Snake covers are available now.
Open Bionics was founded six years ago by Joel Gibbard and Samantha Payne with the goal of using 3D printing and 3D scanning to make affordable and accessible bionic limbs.
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