Complete arm prosthesis, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1979

1979 in Edinburgh

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Musuem

Complete arm prosthesis, with motor-driven car assembly, powered by compressed air, by the Orthopaedic Bioengineering Unit, Princess Margaret Rose Hospital, Edinburgh, 1979

Movements of this mobile arm prosthesis are controlled by movements of the muscles around the child’s shoulder blades. These movements are powered by compressed carbon dioxide. The gas is stored in cylinders in the ‘passive’ arm. An active child might use two gas cylinders per day. Such limbs were fitted to children from 18 months upwards.

The arm prosthesis was developed by the Orthopaedic Bioengineering Unit at Princess Margaret Rose Hospital, Edinburgh during the 1960s. It was designed for children born with absent or malformed limbs. This was the result of their mothers taking the drug thalidomide during pregnancy.


Object Number:
aluminium, plastic, steel and textile
artificial arm
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • prosthesis
  • artificial limb
Lothian Health Board

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