For some people, having a handicap is not the end of the world. The best ones find the most creative and ingenious way to continue doing what they love – with a bit of adjustment. For this disabled welder from Indonesia, he created something out of nothing.
I Wayan Sumardana is a 31-year-old welder from a humble village of Nyuhtebel in Bali. One day, he woke up to find little feeling in his left arm, similar to slight paralysis.
According to him, his doctor was puzzled with what happened to him. It could’ve been stroke, but they weren’t sure. Even the village shaman couldn’t explain things. Unanswered questions led him to his state of limbo and stress. But, he had an “Aha!” moment during his 2-month absence.
Inspired by cyborg movies, Sumardana built a bionic arm for his paralyzed hand out of scrap metals. Good thing it didn’t cost him an arm and a leg.
But how did he, a graduate of technical secondary school and without a university degree on electrical engineering, construct such a robotic contraption?
His explanation was equal parts mysticism and practical technical knowledge.
In a BBC interview, Sumardana said: “It’s like a lie detector machine. I send a signal from my brain and that message is captured by the machine and it makes my arm move.”
“It is simple and anyone could make it and I am not brilliant,” he quipped.
When he puts on his bionic hand, this one-armed man could do his daily work of repairing machines and welding, despite having incomplete movement in only three of his fingers.
Possessing such arm candy made him the “Iron Man” of his village. In fact, Bali’s governor reportedly gave him 50 million rupiah in cash.
But not everyone received Sumardana’s invention with open arms. After getting media attention for his creation, one mechanical engineering expert from Udayana University personally wanted to know how the robotic arm works. That time, the Balinese cyborg said his machine wasn’t in working condition.
“It’s a robot structure but there are some important components missing. He has a mechanical and electrical structure, but it doesn’t have any computer coding. How can the machine recognise a command without computer programming?” the engineer asked.
But Sumardana believes in spirits and how these possess him when he puts on the robotic arm.
“I am not myself,” he simply explains.
While Sumardana may or may not be twisting everyone’s arm, scientists and experts remain wary of his claims on finally inventing a robotic arm.
Watch the clip, and be amazed with the Balinese Iron Man:
Do you really believe that he is the Iron Man of Bali? Was he really able to invent a robotic arm to help him in his work? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.