Could a small village on the island of Bali in Indonesia be home to a real-world Tony Stark?

While I Wayan Sumardana definitely lacks the Marvel comics superhero's billions, he definitely matches up in terms of ingenuity. The 31-year-old, a welder by trade, went to work inventing a bionic appendage after losing all feeling in his left arm. Frustrated by a lack of medical assistance, he fashioned his invention using scrap metal, lithium ion batteries, chipsets and other miscellaneous electronics.

"It's like a lie-detector machine," he told BBC Indonesian's Christine Franciska. "I send a signal from my brain, and that message is captured by the machine and it makes my arm move. It is simple and anyone could make it and I am not brilliant."

Sumardana, who has no formal degree, but did attend a technical secondary school, says the bionic contraption has allowed him to continue his welding work and other jobs fixing electronics. Without it, his left arm hangs limply by his side and he can only move two or three fingers.

As you might expect, skeptics have cast a shadow on Sumardana's invention, with most wondering how such a machine could operate without complex programming.

"He has a mechanical and electrical structure, but it doesn't have any computer coding," Wayan Widiada, a mechanical engineering expert from Udayana University, told the BBC. "How can the machine recognize a command without computer programming?"

While others have said they'll need some time with the machine before declaring it a fraud, they'll likely have to wait. According to Coconuts Bali, the sensor that controls the arm has suffered water damage and is no longer working. Sumardana says he'll require promised tools from the Balinese government before his bionic arm is once again operational.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Indonesia's 'Iron Man' claims to have invented a bionic arm
Despite doubt from scientists, I Wayan Sumardana's 'mind-reading' bionic arm has captured international attention.