Girl, 8, dreams of being gymnast after receiving superhero-themed bionic arm

February 12, 2024

An eight-year-old girl has said she dreams of being a gymnast (and a tennis player, artist and teacher) after receiving a new superhero-themed bionic arm.

Safiyyah Uddin, from east London, was born without a left hand but despite this, she has not let anything hold her back, according to her mother Shelenaz Khanom.

But due to developments in technology, Safiyyah is now able to use a bionic arm, and hers is complete with a bright pink Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman cover.

The prosthetic was created nearly a year ago by Open Bionics, a Bristol-based company that specialises in creating cheaper, 3D-printed bionic arms for amputees - known as the Hero Arm.

Safiyyah is one of the first to wear her arm with the Spider-Man character cover, part of a new range that the company created after partnering with the likes of Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm.

Speaking to Kay Burley on Sky News Breakfast, Safiyyah proudly showed off how, with the help of the prosthetic, she can throw a tennis ball, hold open a notepad, and use a ruler to draw straight lines.

When asked whether she would like to put her tennis skills into practice as a professional player when she is older, Safiyyah replied: "Yeah," quickly adding that she also wants to be "an artist, and a teacher, and a gymnast and a cheerleader".

"Since she has had it, she has said she can do things with both of her arms now, she can use both of her hands simultaneously," Ms Khanom said.

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"It has just been such an amazing journey and we have had such a blast with this new Spider-Man cover. She can really show off."

'Opened so many doors'

The bionic arm works using sensors in the prosthetic that detect movements in muscles, allowing the fingers to open and close and the wrist to turn 180 degrees.

"During my early pregnancy, I was informed she was going to be born with a missing left hand, there wasn't any cause, as a parent learning she would be missing a limb really affected me," Ms Khanom added.

"For a while, I kept doing things with one hand, imagining how she would cope and be able to do things.

"But ever since she was born to see how incredible she was is so inspirational. She has taught me so much.

"I think it has just opened up so many doors for her."

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