Earlier this year, we fitted Tanisha with a Hero Arm, and while she loved the look and feel of her new bionic arm, she wasted no time putting it to good use.
Here is what happened at her Hero Arm delivery appointment.
I’m Tanisha and I was born without a right arm. I haven’t really noticed a difference growing up, as most things I can get around doing with one hand. Having a limb difference has never stopped me, I like to go with the flow and try everything – I’ve even tried doing handstands in the past.
I was super happy. And I’m really excited to take it home and use it. It’s one of the coolest designs I’ve seen.
It doesn’t look like any other prosthetic arm I’ve seen – I love that it’s not trying to look like a real arm. You can clearly see how it works and the difference each part makes to the function of the arm. I’ve worn prosthetic arms before and they can be quite restrictive – you have to really physically move to get the prosthesis to create a movement. With the Hero Arm, there are more options: you can rotate the wrist and have more grip options. Even with the extra functionality, the Hero Arm is lightweight and comfortable, which is the biggest difference, I think.
I love trying new things, and being able to do dual-hand activities has always appealed to me. Usually I have my sleeve covering my limb difference, but with the Hero Arm, I definitely feel more confident wearing it and I know I won’t want to cover it.
I’m so excited to try everything! From little things like picking up my bag to drawing, and even taking selfies!
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.
Richard Slusher, an amputee camp counselor from Northeast Ohio who was born with no right arm, raised funds needed in just over 5 weeks for a multi-grip bionic arm. A strong advocate for disability rights, Richard crowdfunded for a Hero Arm to support him in his day-to-day job working with children.
Recently, Richard wrote candidly for Amplitude Magazine about what it’s like living with a congenital limb difference and how challenging it has been to obtain a prosthesis he wanted “The Hero Arm is lightweight and the socket is breathable, which makes it comfortable to wear for an entire day (which I couldn’t do with my previous devices). I’m able to cook, pour drinks, open doors, and complete other tasks with far more ease than I used to. But my new prosthesis hasn’t just brought practical changes. It also has been emotionally liberating.” – Read the full feature from Richard in this Amplitude Magazine article.
After a life-time of using a prosthesis with minimal function, Richard was in awe when he was able to move his bionic fingers for the first time. The Hero Arm was custom built and uses myoelectric sensors to detect underlying muscular contractions which are then amplified and converted into intuitive bionic hand movements.
When I wear it I feel like a robot, which is so fun and it opens doors to positive communication about limb difference.
An optimist by nature, 27-year-old Richard says prosthetics he had worn before “always had this feeling of conformity, like wearing a prosthetic that looked like a real limb is what I had to do to be accepted.”
Once he decided to opt for the Hero Arm, Richard worked ran a crowdfunding campaign. He said: “I didn’t think it would do that well right out of the gate, I was so humbled by it.”
When Richard first tried on the Hero Arm, he was excited about the opportunity to make it an extension of his personality. Choosing bright blue covers, Richard described the Hero Arm as “something straight out of the future”.
He added: “When I wear it I feel like a robot, which is so fun and it opens doors to positive communication about limb difference.”
Richard comes from a close-knit community that championed him from a young age to achieve his goals, he explained: “I grew up surrounded by family members who always supported me to do whatever I wanted. I want people to see my journey as a call-to-action that their needs matter and that anyone who is not happy with their prosthetics should seek alternative options.”
“People with limb differences deserve better access to prosthetics that fulfill their physical and psychological needs. We hope the Hero Arm will empower Richard to continue to achieve his goals and encourage others to reach out if they need support funding their bionic arm. We’re here to help.” commented Samantha Payne, Founder & CEO of Open Bionics.
Recently, Richard spoke candidly about what it’s like living with a congenital limb difference and how challenging it has been to obtain a prosthesis he wanted “The Hero Arm is lightweight and the socket is breathable, which makes it comfortable to wear for an entire day (which I couldn’t do with my previous devices). I’m able to cook, pour drinks, open doors, and complete other tasks with far more ease than I used to. But my new prosthesis hasn’t just brought practical changes. It also has been emotionally liberating.” – Read the full feature from Richard in this Amplitude Magazine article.
We are excited to announce that Laiken Olive, whose pronouns are they/them, is the 21-year-old Artist from South Louisiana who has become the first recipient of the ‘Venom Snake’ bionic arm.
“I always get asked to do Metal Gear Solid cosplays on TikTok” says Laiken, who has amassed 26,000 followers with well over 1 million views.
In the popular video game, Venom Snake loses his arm in an explosion and wears an iconic red and black bionic arm complete with detachable missile functionality and gadgets to stun enemies.
In Metal Gear Solid, the main character wakes up from being in a coma for nine years, and I’ve been waiting a decade to have a prosthetic that is functional and intuitive to my needs.
Whilst the Hero Arm isn’t equipped with weapons, it is custom built and uses myoelectric sensors to detect underlying muscular contractions which are then amplified and converted into intuitive bionic hand movements.
When talking about the game, Laiken can see synergies with personal life experiences, “in Metal Gear Solid, the main character wakes up from being in a coma for nine years, and I’ve been waiting a decade to have a prosthetic that is functional and intuitive to my needs.”
“The first time my insurance claim was denied for a bionic arm, I was offered an arm with a heavy body harness most commonly known to be worn by military men. It was so heavy and put a strain on the whole body which seemed so counter-intuitive.”
From a young age, Laiken was ostracized and bullied for being different. Having to attend school wearing a hook would often be the cause for tears.
“Growing up, the only reason I would wear my prosthetic was to hide my difference.” Laiken says a lot more needs to be done to break barriers the limb difference community face daily – starting with access to prosthetic limbs.
Going through the insurance appeal process was an “emotional roller-coaster,” says Laiken. After a strenuous year of appeals Laiken had their Hero Arm fitted.
This bionic arm is now available for amputees in clinics across the USA.
Laiken says they chose the Hero Arm to help enhance their difference “I am non-binary because I never felt like I fit in what is set-out as a societal norm, so I really want to use these Metal Gear Solid covers to challenge not only the stigmas that surround limb difference, but put my spin on gender roles within the game.”
Talking about the synergies of the game and tech Takayuki Kubo, President of KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT, Inc., said: “We’re incredibly excited to collaborate with Open Bionics, who are at the cutting edge of robotics. We’re thrilled to see the iconic Metal Gear Solid aesthetic of Venom Snake and his bionic arm burst out of the screen and come to life, in a dynamic fusion of technology and design that is changing the lives of upper limb amputees all over the world.”
Samantha Payne, COO and Co-founder of Open Bionics, said: “Venom Snake’s bionic arm is one of the most requested cover designs for the Hero Arm of all time, so we’re incredibly grateful to KONAMI for working with us to turn fiction into reality. We love seeing how Laiken uses their new bionic arm as an empowering tool.”
This month, Daniel Cant, a priest-in-training from Colchester has become one of the first individuals in priesthood to be fitted with a multi-grip bionic prosthetic arm.
The 42-year-old lost his arm during a tragic car accident that left him fighting for life. During a seven-month intense rehabilitation period Daniel relearnt how to walk, but noticed how restrictive everyday activities were living with one arm.
Daniel now lives with his wife and two children and has been training to become a priest for the past year. Daniel said faith played a critical role in his recovery and only found the company Open Bionics who built his new artificial arm after his 6-year-old son continuously prayed and eventually googled for a ‘Hero Arm’ for his Hero Dad.
I’ve missed so many small everyday things, like a full embrace, or putting both hands together for prayer – Daniel Cant
When talking about his priesthood training at Christ Church Parish in Colchester, Daniel said: “In my daily role I have to hold lots of things, but this can be quite cumbersome when standing behind a lectern trying to talk to people. Because the arm is lightweight and so beautifully designed, it will be intrinsic to my role as a priest when I am ordained later this year”.
After his Hero Arm fitting consultation with an Upper Limb Prosthetist at Open Bionics, within a few hours Daniel transitioned from living with no right arm for over a decade, to being able to throw a ball and write his name. Daniel reflected on what it was like to regain functionality in both arms “I’ve missed so many small everyday things, like a full embrace, or putting both hands together for prayer. The first thing I will do when I get home is give my family a bear-size hug, with both hands, because my children have never experienced that before.”
“The Hero Arm is going to give me a great sense of confidence to challenge the stigmas that still surround disability. I’m looking forward to also raising awareness in my sector about the barriers the limb difference community still face everyday.”
After a successful funding campaign with the support of The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London, Daniel was fitted with a Hero Arm built custom to his shape and matching his individual prosthetic requirements and design preferences. Unlike Daniel’s previous prostheses, which were heavy and very limited in functionality, Daniel’s Hero Arm uses myoelectric sensors which detect underlying muscular contractions generated from specific muscle groups in his arm. These are then amplified and converted to intuitive and proportional bionic hand movements.
Samantha Payne MBE, Co-founder of Open Bionics commented on Daniel’s experience: “We’re thrilled to support Daniel on his bionic journey. It can be frustrating as an amputee when your job requires you to hold items in two hands at the same time and we hope Daniel’s Hero Arm makes the practice into priesthood smoother. We helped Daniel find funding for his new bionic arm and we’re grateful to The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London for their support. If you need help finding funding for your Hero Arm, please get in touch!”
Open Bionics is on a mission to support individuals like Daniel to turn their disabilities into superpowers by using innovative technologies such as 3D printing and 3D scanning to ensure each bionic prosthetic arm is custom-built and bespoke to the user.
Below elbow limb amputees interested in getting a Hero Arm can register interest below where our team will determine eligibility with an initial introduction call.