A Star Wars fan who fundraised almost $14,000 to get a bionic R2-D2 arm has shown it off to Luke Skywalker himself.
Bella Tadlock, from Tallahassee, Florida chatted via Skype to Mark Hamill, the veteran actor who portrays the bionically armed Skywalker in the space opera franchise. During the call she demonstrated how her new limb works.
Tadlock was born with defects in her arms and hands. Last year, Hamill became aware of her fundraising appeal to pay for the near-$14,000 (£11,000) bionic arm and proceeded to retweet the campaign details to his 3.6 million followers on Twitter in November.
The 11-year-old Star Wars has now become first person in the US to receive the advanced multi-grip arm, in the style of R2-D2, which was created by Bristol company Open Bionics.
Bella is a huge fan of Star Wars and asked for an R2-D2 style Hero Arm. We also know someone in the galaxy who is a big fan of Bella… so we introduced them over Skype. Bella, say hi to LUKE SKYWALKER. @hamillhimself ??? #BionicBella https://t.co/BU0VMaCcFz pic.twitter.com/DVOIbWnsDf
— Open Bionics (@openbionics) March 2, 2020
After several operations Tadlock now has three fingers and a thumb on her right hand, but wanted a non-surgical option for her left hand.
“I now have two hands – I am so excited,” she said [via Sky News].
“I will be able to ride my bike, create in the kitchen and be like my friends. To be able to bend my fingers and pick things up is a dream come true.”
Tadlock’s new arm is one of several “hero” arms manufactured by Open Bionics, which works by picking up signals from muscles in the residual limb. The company has a royalty-free licensing agreement with Lucasfilm to produce Star Wars cover designs.
Samantha Payne, Open Bionics co-founder, said: “We’re delighted that Bella loves her new R2-D2 arm, and it’s fantastic that Mark Hamill, who is a role model to limb-different children worldwide, is so proactive in letting these kids know that they have the admiration and support of one of the galaxy’s biggest heroes.”
Details in advanced copies of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker book have begun to leak online. One particular new fact is that Rey’s father was an “imperfect” clone made by Palpatine’s worshippers after he died in Return of the Jedi (1983).