When Ben and Kate Ryan's new baby, Sol, needed an operation to amputate his arm just below the elbow, it was devastating. Ben didn't think it was right that his son couldn't get access to a prosthetic until he was one year old and that even then it would be cosmetic rather than functional, able to grip.
The psychology lecturer began trying to design something that would help his young son. He was spurred on when rolled up foam taped to Sol's elbow saw the young boy use his arm to bang toys for the first time. Working on the kitchen table with bits of copper pipe and plumbing fittings, Ben came up with an idea for a new design that would operate a hand using tiny movements of the elbow. Sure it would work, he went to a brand new innovation studio in Bangor University. They were keen to help and from there Ben has developed a prosthetic arm which can grip and has a moveable thumb. Young Sol is now able to do 90% of what other young boys can and his Dad would like to help others. The arm he designed can be printed in a few days as opposed to fibreglass which can take three months. Ben would also like to research how young children can learn to use prosthetics.