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“Bionic Gloves” Help Acclaimed Pianist With Degenerative Disease Play Music Again [Video]



  • A degenerative disease and serious injuries rendered Brazilian piano maestro João Carlos Martins’ hands unable to play.
  • Industrial designer Ubiratan Bizarro Costa gifted Martins with a “bionic glove” which allows him to move his fingers.
  • Martins is happy to be able to use his 10 fingers and play again after more than 20 years. 

Brazilian piano virtuoso João Carlos Martins has had an illustrious career performing with orchestras in the United States and around the globe.  But a blend of serious injuries and a degenerative disease on his hand brought his career to a standstill.

His hands were no longer fit to play the intricate pieces that he used to play and so he turned to conducting.  But fate is kind and smiling on him when industrial designer Ubiratan Bizarro Costa showed him a prototype of a black neoprene “extender” gloves.

Costa said, “I just created this as a gift to him. It’s not really part of my main line of work. It was something for him to have fun with… I wasn’t expecting all this interest.”

Thanks to the “bionic gloves”, Martins is back at the piano playing and making beautiful music.

Martins admitted, “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.”

He added, “To be able to use all 10 fingers again more than 20 years later is a miracle for me at the age of 80.”

Photo Credit: Marcio De Assis

He might not regain his full ability and range of motions of his finger but his will and discipline will see him through and make the most of what he has been. He now has the ability to play thanks to the gloves that are fitted with a system of spring rods that draw the fingers back up as notes are depressed on the keyboard.

Martins is on a mission to be able to play one of his favorite keyboard selections as an encore to a commemorative performance when COVID-19 is done.  Whether that pushes through or not, being able to play after more than 20 years is already a feat at 80.

Martins said, “It’s a kind of hope I can give to people who think maybe they can’t do anything more after 80 or so. At the age of 80, I think I can have a beginning again.”

Source: Good News Network