4 years in the past tomorrow, James Younger's life modified for ever in a freak accident when he fell below a practice.
In addition to sustaining a number of accidents - together with collapsed lungs, a fractured cranium and face, rib fractures and cracks in his backbone - he broken his left arm whereas his left leg was severed beneath the knee at the scene.
James, then 22 and working as a organic scientist, had been about to board a Docklands Gentle Railway practice in East London for a evening out with buddies.
James Younger, 26, from London, turned 'half cyborg' in experiment that fitted him with prototype bionic arm
Strolling too near the platform edge as the practice pulled in, he had put his hand out to push the button to open the doorways. However the momentum of the nonetheless transferring practice brought on him to spin and lose his steadiness.
He fell between two carriages. 'My buddies appeared spherical and could not see me,' he says, having pieced the incident collectively from CCTV footage, as he has no reminiscence of it.
'The practice stopped and my buddies acquired on it and pulled the alarm. Two males helped them to search for me. The man who discovered me, David Kelly, climbed below the practice and talked to me to maintain me acutely aware.'
An air ambulance helicopter took him to the Royal London Hospital, the place his dad and mom - Philip and Karen, retired Metropolis of London Cops - and sister Elle rushed to be with him.
He was stored in an induced coma for 12 days to guard his mind and stabilise him. At first, surgeons eliminated useless tissue contaminated by dust and oil from the practice tracks, however have been finally compelled to amputate his left arm.
'Initially, my dad and mom had been informed I had damaged my leg and arm. They did not know the way unhealthy it was till they noticed me,' says James, who wanted 12 operations to rebuild his face and physique.
4 years in the past he fell below a practice and suffered accidents together with collapsed lungs, a fractured cranium and face, rib fractures and cracks in his backbone - in addition to a broken left arm and severed left leg
After three and a half months in hospital, he was discharged to go residence with a commonplace concern NHS prosthetic leg and arm, which he describes as 'ugly - peach-colored and apparent'.
Extra importantly, the arm had restricted capabilities, with a hook as an alternative of a hand.
'And the prostheses are operated by straps and strings, which is uncomfortable to do on a traumatically amputated stump,' he says.
Although the prostheses have been higher than no left arm and leg in any respect, such manipulation difficulties simply brought on him new issues.
So as to add to his woes, James discovered it exhausting to return to full-time work - particularly as he had phantom limb ache and needed to take heavy-responsibility painkillers, which left him fatigued.
He was, he says, 'in a darkish place'. 'I stored attempting to measure myself in opposition to a absolutely-bodied, wholesome, ready human, which was unreasonable.'
A 12 months in the past, nevertheless, James's life modified once more - this time very a lot for the higher - when he turned 'half cyborg' in a unprecedented experiment that fitted him with a prototype bionic arm.
James, a video video games fan who makes use of his good proper arm to play, answered a web based commercial from gaming firm Konami, which was searching for an amputee desirous about highway-testing a futuristic prosthetic limb.
It mixed floor-breaking robotics, linked to nerves and muscle groups in the shoulder, with state-of-the-art aesthetics to supply a distinctive design that mirrored the wearer's persona.
Due to James's enthusiasm for video video games, he fitted the temporary.
His bionic arm was fitted at the London studio of prosthetics artist Sophie De Oliveira Barata, creator of the Various Limb Venture.
Sophie, who has labored on particular results for movies, designed James a bespoke steel arm with an connected plastic articulated hand labored by muscle groups in his shoulders.
The muscle alerts are detected by sensors connected to the pores and skin of his shoulders - the sensors are linked to a harness throughout the high of his physique that then operates the arm and hand, all powered by battery.
His bionic arm was fitted at the London studio of prosthetics artist Sophie De Oliveira Barata
Sophie was answerable for the total look, with one other firm, Open Bionics, making the robotic hand utilizing a 3D printer. Customary NHS prosthetic arms have a hook or pincer-like gripper.
However James's new hand strikes - and feels - extra like a actual hand and may be cleverly managed to select up the tiniest objects, corresponding to a coin, because of the 'instructions' despatched by the shoulder muscle groups speaking with the sensors.
As James places it: 'It provides me a hand - and not a machine. It is tender, however agency, so it is very nice to shake!'
The cyborg-fashion arm additionally options a laser mild (for impact reasonably than any sensible use), a torch (to assist him discover his method round at evening), a USB port (in the wrist opening behind the hand) to cost his phone; a watch and even a drone (fitted on a panel on the exterior of the shoulder).
It is impressed by a character referred to as Snake, a maimed motion man from the sport Steel Gear Strong. Clad in smooth silver physique armour, the complete impact is like one thing out of a sci-fi film.
Getting the look of the arm proper was vital.
The prosthetic limb combines floor-breaking robotics, linked to nerves and muscle groups in the shoulder, with state-of-the-art aesthetics to supply a distinctive design that displays the wearer's persona
'I did not need to appear like The Terminator as a result of my job includes speaking to docs about the medication they use. I did not need to look as if I will kill somebody,' says James, whose part-man, half-machine new life with his robotic arm is explored in a new BBC3 documentary, which is offered to view on-line from tomorrow.
At 6ft 5in, James cuts a placing determine with his new arm. Down-to-earth and sunny natured, what actually marks him out is his full lack of self-pity.
'I do not know what to say when folks inform me my angle is nice; it is not good, I am simply doing it,' he says.
'If stuff is more durable to do, it simply means you have not but discovered a strategy to do it.'
For all the advantages of the arm, he cannot put on all of it the time: in addition to taking it off to bathe or sleep, he has to have a relaxation from the weight - at four.7 kg (10lb) with the battery, harness and the layers of heavy gel used to mount the prosthetic arm on the pores and skin of his shoulder stump, it is heavy.
And because it's a prototype, it must go in for normal high-quality-tuning, like a automobile being serviced.
Designs for absolutely articulated cyborg legs and toes are even additional superior than arms, as a result of legs are extra liable to being severed in accidents. James is planning the subsequent stage of what might be termed his bionic physique-constructing by getting titanium implants in his left leg and shoulder, which can strengthen each areas.
For exceptional although the hand is, it hasn't but reached its full potential due to the 'primitive' method the robo-arm is connected to his physique.
If that might be upgraded with titanium implants so the arm slots into this immediately, he says it may remodel his new hand's potential to elevate issues or wave like a actual limb.
Implants may also give him rather more power.
'The surgeons bore out some bone marrow and slide in a steel rod as an alternative, so your bone cells can begin to combine with it.'
The cyborg-fashion arm additionally options a laser mild (for impact reasonably than any sensible use), a torch (to assist him discover his method round at evening), a USB port to cost his phone; a watch and even a drone
Implants in the leg would assist him bear his weight higher whereas utilizing a commonplace leg prosthesis - at the second, it hurts an excessive amount of to put on it for lengthy, so he makes use of a wheelchair day-after-day. However these titanium implants will probably be obtainable solely to army amputees in the UK, in trials by the producer introduced by the MoD for subsequent 12 months. There are not any plans but to increase trials to civilian amputees.
So James has began a fundraising marketing campaign to get the implants, generally known as direct skeletal fixation or osseo- integration. Long run, he may increase sufficient cash to get a cyborg leg, too.
In the meantime, Open Bionics is attempting to get the bionic arm medically permitted in the hope of persuading the NHS to make it broadly obtainable to amputees in the UK.
The argument is that it turns into price-efficient by saving cash on physiotherapy and different therapies a affected person would possibly want by their lifetime.
Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, director of the Edinburgh Centre of Robotics and Chair of Robotics at Edinburgh College, believes expertise has progressed so quick - with its value additionally coming down due to 3D printing - that robotic limbs might be broadly obtainable for simply a few thousand kilos inside a few years.
In addition to serving to amputees, robotic units are being developed to assist stroke sufferers function paralysed arms once more.
A brand new life is opening up in additional methods than one for James, who just lately made his talking debut at a convention bringing science and expertise collectively.
And he just lately obtained a backhanded praise - being informed that he wasn't disabled sufficient for a disabled model of a new Bear Grylls journey programme.
'The maker had approached me and requested: "What's the important drawback in your life that you'll be able to't do?"
'And I stated: "Nothing - aside from not with the ability to run day-after-day spherical the London Docks to de-stress like I used to."
'So that they picked another person as an alternative,' he grins.
Bodyhack: Steel Gear Man (BBC3, BBC iPlayer and BBC YouTube, from tomorrow, 4pm). To assist James increase cash for titanium implants in his arm and leg, go to gofundme.com/titaniumjames