2nd September 2021
Jeff is unapologetically bionic. From serving as a young aide in the halls of Congress, to enjoying a global spanning corporate career, Jeff has juggled it all while being a devoted dad and advocate for the limb difference community. We caught up with bionic dad Jeff to see how he’s getting on with his Hero Arm.
I’ve been following Open Bionics for years. One thing that really stood out to me about the company is how customer focused you guys are. Where most prosthetic arms are heavy and uncomfortable, Open Bionics was already looking at ways to overcome common industry problems. The other thing that really caught my eye was when I saw was the Star Wars Hero Arm, I thought ‘that’s my Luke Skywalker arm, it’s the arm I wanted ever since I was a kid!’
The Hero Arm comes in a box that says ‘Welcome to the Future’ and that’s how I felt, part of the future.
It has also amazed me that the battery life of the Hero Arm can go all day. I usually get into the office at 7:30am and have had days where I have worn the Hero Arm for 12 hours straight and the battery has worked throughout the day.
My health insurance covered 80% of the costs of getting a Hero Arm, which really made the process of getting a Hero Arm quite smooth. I thought I would get some push back from insurance, but didn’t have any issues getting my claim approved.
I think, it definitely has to be the design, it’s so striking. So many prosthetic arms try and blend in, which makes it seem like you’re trying to hide the fact you’re missing a limb. The coolest part about owning a bionic arm is that you get to look like you’re just this person from the future.
I was born without an arm, and have tried so many different types of prosthetic limbs, but found it easier not having a prosthesis, as they usually had minimal functionality or I could only wear them for half a day before getting really tired. The Hero Arm is the first one that I’ve really enjoyed using day-to-day, and really see myself wearing for the rest of my life. It has also amazed me that the battery life of the Hero Arm can go all day. I usually get into the office at 7:30am and have had days where I have worn the Hero Arm for 12 hours straight and the battery has worked throughout the day.
As a dad I now interact a lot more with children and having the Hero Arm has changed the dynamic of conversations.
When I first wore the Hero Arm to the office, my colleagues just thought it was really cool, and had so many questions like ‘why does the light flash’ and I would joke that ‘it’s my wifi connection’.
I really enjoy going out with the Hero Arm, doing simple things like pushing the stroller, which I see now how much strain I was actually putting on my wrist by just trying to do that without a prosthesis. Having the support from the Hero Arm has immediately given me relief in the right wrist. This also applies with grocery shopping, I never knew grocery carts are so light when you have two arms.
I also really enjoy using my Hero Arm at work. One thing that really frustrated me in my career was that I always felt a little bit messy, spilling and dropping things, but now it’s so much easier to be able to open the office door while holding a coffee, things like that just make the day so much easier. Even when I used to travel for work, having the ability to hold my ticket and luggage has made the travel experience so much more pleasant.
At work when I’m in a meeting now, I’m the centre of attention, because I’m the one with an arm that looks like a Stormtrooper, and it actually makes it easier to do certain parts of my job where I need to be leading the conversation and be seen as the focal point of the room.
My daughter was definitely not a fan when I first got my Hero Arm. It took her a few days to get used to it. But when she was used to it, it was her favourite thing about me.
For me, I’m almost nervous to ask for additional functionality considering the Hero Arm is so great as it is. I wouldn’t want extra features added to it that would make it heavier.
Yes absolutely, as a dad I now interact a lot more with children and having the Hero Arm has changed the dynamic of conversations. It’s no longer just about why do you have one hand, but what is it like having an Iron Man hand and what can you do with it, so it adds a whole new layer to the conversation. The Hero Arm has changed how I approach conversations.
The Hero Arm uses myoelectric sensors which detect underlying muscular contractions generated from specific muscle groups in the arm. These are then amplified and converted into intuitive and proportional bionic hand movements.