Kansas woman receives nation’s first mind-controlled bionic arm


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A retired Haysville science teacher, who lost her arm a few years ago, is the first person in the nation to receive a bionic one that she can control with her mind.

Sondra Stieber’s arm was amputated in June 2018 after microscopic blood clots caused by a broken collarbone, cut off circulation in her left arm.

On Wednesday, Sondra returned home from New York with her new prosthetic. It is one that she says will allow her to have her independence.

“I was a middle school science teacher and that job requires two hands. I retired, but with this development, I’m thinking maybe I don’t need to stay retired.”

After months of physical therapy, she made her way to New York a week ago to get a myoelectric arm.

“I was able to open, close, pronate, and supinate,” said Stieber.

Her specialists were so impressed.

“I made my doctors do cartwheels.”

The team helping her in Wichita says it is more than they ever expected.

“Clearly, she’ll exceed every expectation that they set for her,” said Mike Reynolds, Ascension Via Christi occupational therapist.

Stieber hopes she won’t be the only one in the U.S. with the arm for much longer.

“That the next time somebody loses a limb they’ll have hope,” Stieber said.

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