New bionic limb helping amputees - WNCN: News, Weather

New bionic limb helping amputees

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A new kind of bionic limb is could be life changing for amputees.

The limb is called the "I-Limb."

Mike Benning is the first man in the country to get and use the limb. When Benning was 14, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that forced doctors to amputate his arm below the elbow.

For years, Benning wore a prosthetic arm with a hook for a hand.

"I was absolutely terrified to be around kids. How am I going to hold my daughter? How am I going to hold my son?" Benning said.

But more than 30 years later, Benning is getting the newest bionic hand on the market. The hand is powered by sensors that detect muscle activity, like twitches, to prompt movement.

The hand can also be paired with a mobile device and special App that directs the hand into 24 different grip options. The grips then help Benning with simple tasks like picking strawberries from a bowl or emptying the dishwasher.

"Simple things like that, that we all take for granted around the house, umm, now have become easier for me and I've just gained another 15 minutes in my day," says Benning.

The price of prosthetics can vary depending on the technology. Some can cost about $3,500 while others are about $100,000. Insurers differ on what costs they will cover, but Medicare for example, will cover 80 percent of prosthetic costs.

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