If things fall in place, schoolgirl Nur Zulaikha Khumaira Zulkifli can well become the country’s first to be fitted with a bionic arm.
Known as a ‘bebionics hand’, the RM200,000 artificial limb will allow Nur Zulaikha Khumaira, 7, who had her left arm severed in a horrific motorcycle mishap in July, to hold an egg without crushing it.
The plan to formulate the battery-operated ‘bebionics hand’ for the schoolgirl comes through the initiative of Terengganu Menteri Besar Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar.
Samsuri had announced that the PAS-led state government will fully bear the expenses for an artificial arm for Nur Zulaikha Khumaira, to enable her to lead a normal life.
Thus, through collaboration with University Malaya (UM), the state government has engaged the varsity’s prosthetic, orthotic and rehabilitary services partner BioApps Sdn Bhd to design the ‘bebionics hand’ for the schoolgirl.
Explaining the process, the firm’s general manager Wan Nur-Ilyani Wan Abu Bakar said that Nur Zulaikha Khumaira, who is recuperating at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital in Batu Burok here, was undergoing skin grafting.
She said UM’s biomedical engineering senior lecturer Dr Nasrul Anuar Abdul Razak and BioApps’ sales engineer Mohd Raafi Thohar were assisting foreign experts to design the artificial arm.
“It will take up to six months for her wounds to heal.
“Once the skin grafting is successfully done, Nur Zulaikha Khumaira will have to undergo psychological and physiotherapy examination to determine her muscle adaptiveness.
“As she is a growing girl, her muscles and arm socket properties will change over time and there will be periodic adjustments to her prosthetic arm,” she said.
Nur-Ilyani added that unlike a congenital handicap, Nur Zulaikha Khumaira’s sudden loss of her arm will also affect her balance.
At 9.30pm on July 12 , SK Tasek Standard one pupil Nur Zulaikha Khumaira’s arm was severed when an oversized sweater she was wearing became entangled in the back wheel of a motorcycle as she rode pillion with her cousin Noor Aina Hananie Rozali, 18, at Kampung Binjai Bongkok, Marang.
Due to the severity of injuries, her left arm could not be reattached by surgeons.
Other than the ‘bebionics hand’, Nur-Ilyani said there was also the lower-cost silicone cosmetics fixed-hand which cannot be mobilised.
Another is the body-powered hand that uses the shoulder’s strength to pick up items or engage a bicycle brake.
The third type is the myo-electrical hand that uses an energy sensor to control muscles electrically.
BioApps has, thus far, undertaken over 1,000 tasks to design prosthetics for victims the past five years.
The most recent was that for a boy who lost his right leg and left hand after being struck by a sand lorry in Kuala Terengganu.
Muhammad Naufal Yazid Mohd Salleh, 8, lost his limbs in the accident at Kampung Banggol Chempedak in Alor Limbat, Marang on June 20.
Other cases include that for elephants and dogs involved in accidents or illnesses.