In the world of prosthetics, you'd be hard pressed to find an artificial limb more impressive than one inspired by Venom Snake from Metal Gear Solid 5. The arm, which comes with advanced bionic technology including lasers and built-in Wi-Fi, was awarded to 25-year-old James Young, who responded to an advertisement seeking amputees with a passion for gaming.
Young, who lost an arm and a leg in a rail accident in 2012, was among 60 applicants who responded to an ad looking for amputees who would be interested in sporting a high-tech prosthetic. Modelled after the one employed by game character Venom Snake, the design team was led by London-based prosthetic sculptor Sophie de Oliveira Barata, who created the £60,000 ($83,000, €76,000) carbon-fibre arm as part of a project backed by Metal Gear Solid publisher Konami. Young's arm was recently shown off at the BodyHacking Conference in Texas, an event exploring how the human body can be altered using new technology.
The 3D-printed prosthetic contains technology by Bristol-based Open Bionics, a firm dedicated to building affordable, 3D-printed limbs for amputees. Young's prosthetic is controlled by sensors that detect tiny muscle movements in Young's back muscles, making it substantially more dextrous than standard prosthetics and allowing him to perform actions that require more precise hand movements.
But that's not the full extent of it. According to The Independent, the arm also features a torch, laser and an arrangement of LEDs that can be synchronised with Young's heartbeat, as well as a USB that can be used to charge devices and upload data. There's also an internet-connected computer and a display mounted in the prosthetic through which Young can receive emails and surf the web. If that wasn't enough, Young can even launch a miniature drone from his arm and steer it via a mounted control panel. Yes, really.
Obviously, the prosthetic doesn't quite match the advanced tech of the one sported by Snake in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, which among other things can be used to electrocute enemies or as a weapon to blow them out of existence. Fortunately, Young wishes to keep some distance between himself and the tortured game protagonist.
"I don't think I'm Snake," he told the Independent. "Pretty much everyone in his team has had some sort of terrible accident and they're all very bitter about it and embarking on a big revenge spree. That's definitely not me."