David Aguilar poses Monday in Sant Cugat del Valles, Spain with his prosthetic arms built from Lego pieces. Aguilar built the first version at age 9. He’s now studying bioengineering in college.Smia (Albert Gea/Reuters)

David Aguilar has built himself a robotic prosthetic arm using Lego pieces after being born without a right forearm because of a rare genetic condition.

Aguilar, 19, who studies bioengineering at the International University of Catalonia in Spain, is using his fourth model of the colorful prosthetic. His dream is to design affordable robotic limbs for those who need them.

Once his favorite toys, the plastic bricks became the building material for Aguilar’s first, very basic artificial arm at age 9, and each version had more movement capability than the one before.

“As a child I was very nervous to be in front of other guys, because I was different, but that didn’t stop me believing in my dreams,” said Aguilar, who is from Andorra, a tiny principality between Spain and France.

“I wanted to . . . see myself in the mirror like I see other guys, with two hands,” said Aguilar, who uses the artificial arm only occasionally and is self-sufficient without it.


All the versions are on display in his room in the university residence on the outskirts of Barcelona. The latest models are marked MK followed by the number — a tribute to comic book superhero Iron Man and his MK armor suits.

Aguilar, who uses Lego pieces provided by a friend, proudly displayed a red-and-yellow, fully functional robotic arm built when he was 18, bending it in the elbow joint and flexing the grabber as the electric motor inside whirred.

A presentation video on his YouTube channel that he runs under the nickname “Hand Solo” says his aim is to show people that nothing is impossible and disability cannot stop them.

The arms have become more complex with each version. (Albert Gea/Reuters)

After graduating from university, he wants to create affordable prosthetic solutions for people who need them.

“I would try to give them a prosthetic, even if it’s for free, to make them feel like a normal person, because what is normal, right?”