Robot arm for woman from Mühlviertler (23): “For Lena it was Christmas in March”

Von Dietlind HebestreitApril 2, 2024, 4:19 p.m

Lena Holzer from Gutau can use the aid herself for the first time. For the 23-year-old from Mühlviertel, the robot arm brings a lot of independence.

Bring the spoon to your mouth, comb your hair, scratch your head, drink a glass of water: Lena Holzer has always needed someone else to do these simple tasks. A genetic defect led to muscle weakness from birth. The girl never learned to crawl or walk and was never able to use her arms and hands like other children. In their situation, the robotic arm Jaco from the Canadian company Kinova is a quantum leap. Lena’s father Fredi Holzer puts it this way: “We have been waiting for this help for a long time.”

Image: Rehab Service/Monika Zöbl


Happy ending also thanks to the OÖN-Christkindl: Jürgen Waibel (left, from Kinova Europe) and Severin Ohlenschläger show Lena Holzer how she can use the robot arm.
Image: Rehab Service/Monika Zöbl

OÖN-Christkindl helped

The aid is attached to the electric wheelchair and controlled using the wheelchair control. In this way, the young woman is given a piece of independence – and dignity. “Having to ask for every move can be stressful,” says her dad. But it was a long way before the innovative gripper arm found its way to the Holzers’ house in Gutau in the Mühlviertel. Friends sold punch for the good cause, collected donations and many companies took part in the collection campaign. The public sector contributed something and the OÖNachrichten-Christkindl also supported Lena Holzer with a financial injection.

Finally, 60,000 euros were raised and with a heavy discount from the production company, “It was Christmas for Lena in March,” says Fredi Holzer. Orthopedic technician Severin Ohlenschläger from the company Reha Service in Altenhof am Hausruck adapted the robot arm for the young woman.

“It’s great that Lena can now grab a glass herself and bring it to her mouth,” says Ohlenschläger.

The 23-year-old is very skilled with her assistant hand and can now get used to her new life – with more freedom, mobility and independence. However, the expert knows that it is not easy, especially at the beginning, to control the aid via the display on the backrest of the wheelchair.

Even if everything doesn’t work out perfectly: Lena is happy. Bring the spoon to your mouth, comb your hair yourself, scratch your head, drink a glass of water. In this way, Lena’s comparatively modest wishes come true. She is beaming from ear to ear and enjoying her newfound freedom.


Dietlind Hebestreit

Dietlind Hebestreit


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