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Trevor Prideaux Installs Smartphone Dock Into Prosthetic Arm With Help From Nokia


First Posted: 10/27/11 10:21 AM ET Updated: 12/27/11 05:12 AM ET

Trevor Prideaux got a helping hand from Nokia after reaching out to technicians for a design that would allow him to install a smartphone dock into his prosthetic arm, according to news reports.

The 50-year-old British man, who was born without his left forearm, had a hard time positioning his smartphone for use, the Telegraph reports. He's been using a prosthetic arm since he was three years old.

He recognized his struggle -- and acknowledged that others must be experiencing difficulties as well -- and contacted Apple for help in developing a solution. Shortly after the company declined his proposal, he reached out to technicians at Nokia. A prosthetist, a technician and an undergraduate presented him with a prototype in about a month's time, the Telegraph explains.

The docking station is fixed between Prideaux's "stump socket" and the "single knob rotary" of his faux forearm.

"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," he told the paper.

A writer at Gizmodo applauded Prideaux's idea, saying, "I like your creativity, Mr. Prideaux, I like it a lot."

Prideaux's futuristic dock might be the first of its kind, but researchers have been working on incorporating smartphone technology to help others who are learning to use artificial limbs.

In 2010, scientists from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, announced that they were studying how an accelerometer could help users better maneuver prosthetic limbs, which can be "difficult to operate," ScienceDaily reports.

The researchers explain:

An accelerometer is a tool for detecting changes in gravity or velocity, and enables a device to determine its orientation. ... The accelerometer in your smartphone helps it determine whether you want to look at a photograph in a portrait or landscape format, for example.

... An accelerometer, combined with proper training, [could reduce] the frequency of incorrect movements from 30 to 5 percent.

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Filed by Ileana Llorens  |  Report Corrections