Things That Matter

World-Renowned Pianist João Carlos Martins Regains Ability To Play Piano Because Of Bionic Gloves

Medical technology is a life-changing thing. People have regained the ability to walk, see, and live their old lives again with some help. World-renowned pianist, João Carlos Martins is one of the lucky recipients of medical technology with some bionic gloves.

Here is the emotional moment that João Carlos Martins played the piano after injuries immobilized his left hand.

Martins lost the ability to play with his right hand after a violent mugging in Bulgaria in 1995. Since then, the brilliant pianist became a conductor to stay in the musical world that he loves. For decades, Martins could not play the piano because of his hand injury and he had resigned himself to living the life of a conductor.

The gloves are more than just new medical technology. The bionic gloves are 3D printed gloves that have completely changed Martins’ life. The key element of the gloves are rods in the fingers that pick the fingers back up after Martins strikes a key.

Martins is one of the most important musical figures in Brazil.

Martins underwent surgery in 1995 to address the head trauma he endured from the attack. The mugging left him with brain damage that left his no use of his right arm. The surgeries were enough for him to have a solo comeback concert on the piano in 1996. However, in 2000, Martins underwent another surgery to address the injuries to his right hand but it was unsuccessful and further damaged his hand.

Martins’ storied music career saw him take roles in Brazil’s government.

In 1981, Martins was appointed Brazil’s Secretary of Culture. Before that, the pianist dedicated nine years of his life to Bach. Martins recorded all of the keyboard works of Bach and it culminated in a 20-CD edition of Bach’s works released by the Concord Concerto label. It is the most extensive collection of Bach keyboard recordings made by a single pianist.

Martins, once skeptical of the gloves, is so appreciative of the advances in technology.

“When he showed me the gloves, I joked that they were for boxing, not to play the piano,” Martins told Reuters.

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

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