80-Year-Old Pianist Weeps As Bionic Gloves Help Him Play Again

Brazilian pianist João Carlos Martins lost the use of his right hand in 1995 after a series of accidents and injuries. Despite 24 operations, he could not preform at the same level. The acclaimed musician was renowned for his interpretations of Johann Sebastian Bach's music. Since the early 2000s, he mostly worked as a conductor due to his limitations. But now, thanks to bionic gloves he can play once again!

He played one of his favorite Bach sonatas first.

Reuters reported that Martins was skeptical of the 3D printed gloves at first:

"When he showed me the gloves, I joked that they were for boxing, not to play the piano."

But, the gloves ended up exceeding his expectations:

"To be able to use all ten fingers again more than 20 years later is a miracle for me at the age of 80."

Before the gloves, Martins could only tap the keys slowly, a finger at a time.

He told The Associated Press:

"After I lost my tools, my hands, and couldn’t play the piano, it was if there was a corpse inside my chest."

Now, he wears the gloves all the time.

Ubiratã Bizarro Costa designed the gloves.

They are neoprene-covered and have carbon fiber mechanisms that bump Martins' fingers up after he presses a key. Costa initially designed the gloves based on images of Martins' hands, but they had to be customized to work well. Costa explained to The Associated Press:

"I approached the maestro at the end of a concert in my city of Sumaré, in the Sao Paulo countryside. He quickly noticed they wouldn’t work, but then he invited me to his house to develop the project."

Martins is like a child with a new toy.

Martins says:

"I might not recover the speed of the past. I don’t know what result I will get. I’m starting over as though I were an 8-year-old learning."

Be sure to watch the video of Martins playing. It might even bring a tear to your eye.

h/t: The Associated Press