Star Wars fan gets R2-D2 arm after losing limbs to meningitis aged just eight

Star Wars heroes are no strangers to bionic hands, and a young fan who lost all four limbs to meningitis now has his own artificial arm that would look right at home in a galaxy far, far away.

Kye Vincent was eight years old when doctors were forced to amputate both of his lower legs, his right hand and part of his left hand, with the infection having spread through his body in less than 24 hours.

Now 11, and thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, the youngster from from Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire has become the first person in the world to receive a special bionic arm themed to the famous droid R2-D2.

Kye is said to be delighted with his new limb, which uses sensors to detect muscle movements and is controlled by tensing as you would to open and close your own biological hand.

And while it may not be able to display holographic messages from intergalactic princesses, the R2-D2 arm can be adjusted in size so that Kye can keep wearing it as he grows.

His mother, Cheryl Vincent, said that when doctors revealed they had little chance of saving his limbs the family started crowdfunding so that Kye could fulfil his wish of becoming a "bionic boy".

"Seeing Kye with a hand again was very, very emotional," she said.

The company behind the arm, Bristol-based Open Bionics, made it using 3D printing.

It also offers limbs themed to the hit Disney film Frozen and Marvel characters like Iron Man, but Kye only had eyes for something inspired by Star Wars.

His mother added: "I was so happy for him. From a very young age, he's always loved Star Wars.

"And to have it on a prosthetic arm, it shows what he's into."

Open Bionics is hoping that its limbs will one day become more widely available through the NHS, as they can only be secured through private funding and treatment at the moment.

Co-founder Samantha Payne said: "We wanted to show that people with a difference can be superheroes. There are no other multi-grip prosthetics available for children, and the ones that are can be quite ugly or impractical.

"We are waiting for NHS England to update their out-of-date guidelines to give access to amputees in the UK this multi-grip technology that costs the same or less than current NHS myoelectric solutions."

Open Bionics has provided other bionic arms to children in the UK and the US, including its Iron Man variant for a teenager in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The company offers an insurance policy, with free refits for up to five years.