A teenager built himself a prosthetic Lego arm like Iron Man

When born without a right forearm, Tony Stark your own.

Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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  • Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Jennifer Bisset
2 min read

Fan of Iron Man ? You're not at this guy's level.

David Aguilar, a 19-year-old bioengineering student, built himself a robotic arm using Lego and named it after Iron Man's suit.

Correction: four robotic arms.

The student from Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Spain was born without a right forearm due to a rare genetic condition. He's self-sufficient without an artificial arm, but wanted to build affordable robotic limbs for people who need them.

"As a child I was very nervous to be in front of other guys because I was different, but that didn't stop me believing in my dreams," he told Reuters.

"I wanted to … see myself in the mirror like I see other guys, with two hands."

Aguilar used his childhood toys to Tony Stark it closer to his dream. In 2017, he built a red and yellow robotic arm out of Lego pieces, with an elbow that bends and a grabber that flexes.

It's called MK I -- just like Iron Man's first suit, which Stark calls Mark I.

Aguilar has since upgraded MK I with three more arms, his latest this year -- colored an Iron Man-worthy red -- called MK IV.

In the below video, Aguilar explains how the blue MK II works with a Lego engine and a fishing cable fixed to the limb.

While Aguilar's arm is super-impressive, he's got competition. In 2015, Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., gifted a 3D-printed Iron Man arm to a child with a partially developed right arm. In 2013, amputee Christina Stephens experimented with a prosthetic leg made entirely of Lego pieces, with colorful results.

On graduating from university, Aguilar hopes his plans for affordable prosthetics lift off.

"I would try to give them a prosthetic, even if it's for free, to make them feel like a normal person, because what is normal, right?" he said.

Even more amazing, he goes by Hand Solo on the internet. Never tell this guy the odds.

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