We first learned about the Phantom Limb Project, an effort to create a Metal Gear Solid V-inspired artificial limb for a young lad named James, back in November of 2015. At the time, there were no images of the planned prosthetic, but the announcement said the work would be filmed and eventually released as a three-part documentary. And so it has—mostly.
Mostly, because it's actually only two parts, totaling a little over a half-hour. But it's a fascinating thing to watch, despite the limb—and spoilers here, sorry about that—not turning out to be the silver bullet some might have hoped for. With its modular design and glowing components, it looks like something straight out of Deus Ex, but it functions quite a bit below that baseline. James handles it all with grace, even posing for photos for the media assembled to witness the unveiling, but there's obvious tension in the room when he first puts the arm on and it's clearly a disappointment.
“The arm, it's not really... It's been forced into the public eye and it's not even ready yet,” James says. “I mean, it needs to take its first steps, but it can't walk. It can't even crawl.”
Despite the setback, the outcome isn't gloomy. Contacts with other amputees are made, friendships established, work on the arm continues—and James demonstrates a remarkable aptitude for interacting and sharing his experiences with the public. More information about his Konami-inspired prosthetic arm is available at thephantomlimbproject.com.