It was just a few days after Sol Smith-Ryan's birth that doctors found a blood clot in his arm that required amputation. His parents wanted their young son to have a prosthetic arm as soon as possible so that it would be easier for Sol to accept it. But the National Healthcare Service (NHS) doctors in Wales where the Smith-Ryans live wanted to wait until the boy was older before fitting him for such an expensive piece of equipment.
"With my knowledge of psychology I knew that following the NHS route of doing nothing for 12 months was not the best, and I thought that I could perhaps do better," Sol's dad, Ben Ryan, said in a recent interview with the U.K.'s ITV News anchor Alastair Stewart.
Sol Smith-Ryan is in full toddler mode on live TV as his dad talks about his new arm. (Photo: ITV News)
During the interview, Ryan attempted to explain how he quit his job and dedicated the next year of his life to creating an artificial limb that Sol could begin using immediately, and one that wouldn't have as many weaknesses as those currently in use by the NHS. Ryan told Stewart that spiders, and the way in which they use hydraulic pressure to move their limbs, inspired his bionic arm design. And he added that even without any prior engineering or prosthetic design experiment, he used tutorials on YouTube to help him create a prototype using an Xbox scanner and a 3D printer.
It's fascinating stuff — but not to Sol. For his part, the young toddler literally ran circles around his parents and Stewart during the entire interview, pausing only briefly to toss himself to the ground and have an impromptu game of peek-a-boo with someone offstage. His squeals of laughter and delight have taken the Internet by storm, with commenters far and wide reacting to the boy's story — and his antics.
@alstewitn what a fun little fellah, and an extremely clever dad. Well done Alastair not easy doing the news with a toddler— Mick Macauley (@MickMacauley) March 2, 2017
he was a superstar and I liked how Alistair treated him and his family - well done and best of luck to the little fella— annette falinski (@flinky478) March 2, 2017
Kudos to Sol's parents and to Stewart for rolling with the punches and letting this little guy do his thing during their interview. His joy absolutely stole the show. And how about little brother Max? Something tells me Ryan and Smith are going to have their hands full when that little guy starts chasing his big brother around.
If you want to learn more about Sol Smith Ryan and the project his inventive dad is working on to bring custom prosthetics to the very young, check out their new crowdfunding campaign.