An Austrian man who was given mind-controlled prosthetic arms to help him drive has died after a car crash.
The 23-year-old man, Christian Kandlbauer, lost both of his arms in an electric shock accident five years ago. He was given two prosthetic arms to allow him to live a normal life, one of which was a mind-controlled robotic limb.
This technology is new and Kandlbauer was the first person in the world to receive it. American and Austrian doctors joined together in a six-hour operation, attaching nerves harvested from his arms to his chest muscles, giving him some control over the prosthesis.
This allowed Kandlbauer to drive his Subaru, which, in hindsight, may not have been the best idea. On Tuesday his car veered off the road, struck a tree and burst into flames.
A truck-driver who happened upon the scene pulled the man from the wreck, but it was too late. Kandlbauer spent several days in intensive care with serious head injuries.
Desite best efforts to save him, the senior physician at the hospital in Graz, Andreas Waltensdorfer, revealed that Kandlbauer passed away last night.
It is not yet clear if it was the prosthetic arms that caused the accident, such as failing to respond or locking up, but the entire situation begs the question of whether or not he should have been allowed to drive at all, both for his own safety and the safety of others.