A prosthetic arm engineered by Konami and inspired by the one used by Snake in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is featured in a new documentary by the BBC. The bionic arm is worn by James Young, an avid gamer who lost his arm and leg in a train accident.
The two-part series follows James from the beginning of the process to sporting the prosthetic in public. The arm was designed by Sophie De Oliveira, who says it’s worth “£70,000 [over $100,000 USD] of design and technology.” You can watch part one in the video below, though it’s worth noting that the documentary contains scenes from The Phantom Pain, including spoilers. Part two can be viewed at the bottom of this article.
As James tries on the arm for the first time, he expresses disappointment, as he feels it’s not “anatomically aligned,” which means he can’t control it. He says despite its great looks, it doesn’t do much. Oliveira would work on adjustments, but technical malfunctions and a lack of control continued to disappoint.
“The arm, it’s not ready. It’s been forced into the public eye,” James said. “It needs to take its first steps, but it can’t walk. It can’t even crawl.”
“I was hoping this arm was going to move me on with accepting my disability and the whole thing about designing one that represents a bit of my personality is that I have control, it’s something I’ve got control over,” he added. “But now, when I put this on, I don’t have control. I literally don’t have control of it. And so it’s been a bit of a step back, and it’s made me just go, ‘Oh, I’m still powerless to sort myself out basically.'”
Regadless, the Metal Gear-inspired arm brought attention to James, which landed him a speaking role at a Body Hacking convention in the US–body hacking is when people augment their bodies, such as implanting a transponder into skin that allows the user to unlock doors. At the convention, James meets other amputees and makes some new friends. Additionally, the designer continues to work on improving the arm, something James gets to experience when he returns home–however, it’s still not perfect. We won’t spoil what happens when he brings it out in public, but it’s definitely worth seeing the entire documentary for yourself.
You can find out more information on James and the Phantom Limb project over on its official website.