For Kids, Dad's Bionic Hand Recalls 'Star Wars' In 2007, Eric Jones became one of the first Americans to receive a bionic hand. To his children, it's like something out of science fiction -- and a big hit at show and tell. But Eric has a humble goal: to be able to throw a baseball again.
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For Kids, Dad's Bionic Hand Recalls 'Star Wars'

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For Kids, Dad's Bionic Hand Recalls 'Star Wars'

For Kids, Dad's Bionic Hand Recalls 'Star Wars'

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, Host:

In 2007, Eric Jones developed a disorder that cut off blood flow to his hands and feet. Doctors had to amputate his right hand and Eric was fitted with a bionic one. He was among the first 10 people in the U.S. to receive a bionic hand. He recently spoke with his seven-year-old son, Alex, and 10-year-old daughter, Lanie, for StoryCorps.

LOUISE KELLY: How did you get your bionic hand, dad?

LOUISE KELLY: On the Internet.

LOUISE KELLY: Did you just go to Google and look up bionic hand?

LOUISE KELLY: I don't remember, exactly, but I was looking for a prosthetic, and I found this bionic hand. It's a glove that fits on the stump, and there's a sensor that picks up a muscle signal in the palm of my hand. And I flex the muscle and the fingers move, and they close all at once. And then I flex it again, and then the fingers open.

LOUISE KELLY: What do you miss most about not having a hand?

LOUISE KELLY: I miss playing the piano, because I could play the piano when you sing, Lanie. And I can't throw the baseball yet, but I'm trying to figure out how to do that so that we could play catch, Alex.

LOUISE KELLY: Yeah. Do you get tired of people asking about your missing hand?

LOUISE KELLY: Not really - people get curious. But it was pretty cool when I came to show and tell at second grade, though, right?

LOUISE KELLY: Yeah, that was cool.

LOUISE KELLY: What do you guys think about Dad's bionic hand?

LOUISE KELLY: Darth Vader - Darth Vader just pops into my head, and so does Luke Skywalker, 'cause they both have robotic hands.

LOUISE KELLY: What was it like for you when we came to visit you in the hospital for the first time?

LOUISE KELLY: Oh, it was awesome, 'cause I hadn't seen you guys in a long, long time.

LOUISE KELLY: A month.

LOUISE KELLY: "But I was a little nervous that you guys were going to be scared, and you were going to be sad. But when you guys came into the hospital room for that first time, you just kind of hung out with the old dad in the bed. And most kids, if their dad got this sick, would probably not handle it quite the way that you guys did, which I'm very, very proud of. Because I drop things all the time, I spill things all the time, I need...

LOUISE KELLY: Every single day.

LOUISE KELLY: ...help from you guys all the time. So, one of the things I admire most about both of you guys, is that you're very patient, and you help your dad.

LOUISE KELLY: Thank you, Dad.

LOUISE KELLY: Well thank you. These were some great questions.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LOUISE KELLY: Eric Jones talking with his children Lanie and Alex at StoryCorps in Mamaroneck, New York. Their interview will be archived at the Library of Congress. And there are photos of Eric and his bionic hand at NPR.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LOUISE KELLY: This is NPR News.

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