Meet Thoke Nchabeleng: The Limpopo Bionic Prosthetic Arm Inventor Who Is Giving Amputees a New Lease on Life

Meet Thoke Nchabeleng: The Limpopo Bionic Prosthetic Arm Inventor Who Is Giving Amputees a New Lease on Life

  • Thoke Silas Nchabeleng created a low cost bionic prosthetic arm for individuals with below-elbow amputations
  • The civil engineering graduate shared that he saw the need of the many people who are suffering because they can't afford prosthetics
  • His bionic prosthetic arms are fully functional, with lights, bio-feedback vibrations, and various functions that allow the user to grip and hold items

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After realising the great need of bettering the lives of those living with disabilities, Thoke Silas Nchabeleng did all the necessary research to create a tool that would restore their independence.

The young inventor and founder of Thokesiletrusn who hails from Limpopo, created low-cost bionic prosthetic arms for individuals with below elbow amputations.

Thoke Nchabeleng, Limpopo, Bionic Prosthetic Arm, Inventor
Thoke Nchabeleng is the brains behind the bionic prosthetic arm. Image: Thoke Nchabeleng/Supplied
Source: UGC

The 27-year-old spoke to Briefly News about his amazing invention and work behind this functional device.

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The inventor and his invention

Thoke is from Polokwane, Seshego Zone 8. He studied civil engineering at Denver College in Pretoria, however, he still had other dreams beyond his tertiary education.

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“Civil engineering didn't influence my invention. My invention is something I have been planning to do even before civil engineering. I saw the need of many people out there who are suffering because they can't afford prosthetics. They can't even do simple activities themselves and they can't stay independent,” said Thoke who grew up with a person who has a disability.
“But I would not see them differently, because they didn't choose to be the way they look,” he added.

The bionic prosthetic arm

Prosthetics, or artificial limbs, are used to replace limbs that were lost or absent limbs from birth. They enable those with congenital limb differences and amputees alike to improve function and mobility.

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Due to advances in medical science, prosthetics have improved and are capable of remarkable things.

Thoke shared that he was inspired by his friend who didn't have both hands, but still didn't allow his disability to define him or his vision for life.


Thokesiletrusn is Thoke's baby, a South African company developing low-cost, bionic prosthetic arms for amputees with below elbow amputations. Their bionic prosthetic arms are fully functional, with lights, bio-feedback vibrations, and various functions that allow the user to grip, high-five, and fist bump.

“The arm picks up signals from the user's muscles. When the user puts on their bionic arm and flexes the muscles in their residual limb just beneath their elbow, special sensors detect the signals and convert them into intuitive and useful information for the arm,” said Thoke who explained that the he did all the research and work from scratch all by himself.

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Accessibility of the product

“The product is easily accessible, the patient needs to send pictures of their limb difference or below elbow limb, so that we can make them their own unique/special hand, then deliver it to them.”

Check out a video of how it works:

The challenges

The young man shared a bit about some of the technical issues he faced in building his invention.

“Wiring gave me a problem as it was my first time working with wires. Coding was another big challenge as I was not familiar with it. The sensors were not picking up signals from the muscle, so I had to try multiple times, to get it right.”

Thoke’s hopes

“I would say I’m proud of myself. I found a solution to simplify the lives of people who have ‘a limb difference’.
“I hope to see, people without hands or arms get to experience what it is like to simply have fun, to be independent, and not have to think twice about how to hold or grip something,” said Thoke.

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19-year-old amputee who built a prosthetic arm from LEGO blocks

In a separate story, Briefly News previously reported on David Aguilar, the Spanish teenager who can build anything with Lego. The talented young man has made history by creating the world’s first working robotic prosthetic arm using only the colourful building materials.

“I can do push-ups with this thing. It’s quite strong,” said the 19-year-old.

Born with the Poland Syndrome birth defect, Aguilar has shared how he built himself a prosthetic right arm from LEGO bricks back in 2019 and 2018. As his right arm never fully developed and he has some difficulty with it, the passionate engineer has been working on the concept ever since he was 9-years-old, You Magazine reports.

Source: Briefly News

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