“Tech fanatic, biological science grad and avid science communicator”
Following an incident where he was pulled under a moving train, James woke in hospital with both his left arm and leg amputated.
This is his journey with the Nexus Hand.
After my accident, I was worried that losing my arm would be the end of playing video games. I’m not sure why that was what I fixated on in the hospital, but a gaming controller is a really obvious example of two-handed design.
In the real world, there’s a lot of two-handed design, but you can overcome a surprising amount of it by doing something makeshift. When I got out of the hospital, I was surprised by the number of tasks I could achieve with perseverance and lateral thinking.
I got accustomed to my set of tools: fingers, toes, thighs and even walls. I’m now convinced that people are wasting time doing some tasks two-handed! But most things take longer to do with one hand. There’s only so much time in the day and only so much bodily energy. My accident caused damage that has my residual limbs achey and worn out.
Using a Nexus hand has been a really effective way to take off some of the load from stretching and straining to do things, and instead, retrain my brain to see that I can use that extra point of contact it provides, to do things more quickly and easily.
After years without one, it can be a challenge to even change. I’ll start doing a task my classic way, even wearing the Nexus, and quickly have a lightbulb moment: “hold on! I can just grip it with the hand.” It’s such a satisfying and alleviating moment, especially as a high upper arm amputee. I get all excited and whip around to see what other tasks I can do with the set of two hands at my disposal.
In honesty, any and all bionic hands still require greater sensation, feedback and dexterity to do something like wrapping them around a video game controller. Fortunately for me, I found a way to play using one arm and my mouth!
“But, the fact is that when I take off my Nexus hand, I immediately feel the lost capacity. Sometimes I get frustrated to have taken it off as I work to readjust to my different ‘tool kit’.
It’s also fair to say that some tasks are easier to do with the skin sensation of my little arm stump, and nobody is saying you need to commit to ‘being bionic’ for 100% of your life (though it does feel and look super cool to wear). But the annoyance I feel when I take off my arm when it could just help with one more thing is clear evidence to me of the utility the Nexus can provide in my daily life.”