This is the video of my experience unboxing and trying on my new 3D printed prosthetic arm for the first time:

I grew up either not using a prosthetic at all (depending on my mood or activity) or using what's called a "Myoelectric" -- a very basic, single motion prosthetic arm which costs on average (without insurance coverage) $15-25k each. Not practical for growing kids who need a new fit every 1.5 years!

I'm 33 now and hadn't used prosthetics in the last ten years until Unlimited Tomorrow developed and sent me (and many others) their prosthetic that's been under development for the past 6 or so years. Their mission is to create an affordable prosthetic device/process so that kids can grow into new prosthetics as they grow. (See for their story.) *proof it's me!*

Comments: 165 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

ArtDSellers159 karma

Have you ever pretended to traumatically lose your arm in an effort to teach people lessons, in the manner of J Walter Weatherman?

abshow108 karma

Hahaha not so specifically, but I’ve definitely used Halloween costumes to that end 😆My 3 Quick Halloween Costumes for Amputees

HMPoweredMan13 karma

Forget the quick ones. I want to see the over the top well thought out ones!

chills113845 karma

This is really cool, I watched some of your vids and I love how you describe how the prosthetic is working.

I’m sure there’s a period when you learn how to do different tasks with the arm, but do you think there will be anything you prefer to do without the arm, like drumming?

abshow32 karma

You absolutely nailed it! There will be some things I do with the prosthetic and I’m sure that will be an enjoyable experience, but not every single daily thing. Definitely not drumming because there’s no way I could make the wrist move proficiently enough for fast drumming. I imagine this will be more of a part-time help her to me… And I look forward to sharing videos of me using it which will hopefully help kids who are learning to use their prosthetics too!

121PB4Y229 karma

Are you going to attach some freakin laser beams to it?

abshow23 karma

If I’m lucky ;)

121PB4Y213 karma

good luck! fingers crossed :)

abshow9 karma

lol that pun thoooo

noshore4me18 karma

Can you give someone the finger with your new hand?

abshow11 karma

Probably! XD

theragingoptimist18 karma

Congratulations! How are you feeling?

abshow23 karma

Excited to share what I learn!

swissiws17 karma

Would you rather wear a 100% "invisible" prosthetic arm (with perfect looking skin and body hair, nails and also moving flawlessly without any sound) or an even more mechanical looking one? I ask because I found myself thinking about the possible unfortunate event of being amputated and what my reactions would be. And, being somewhat a nerd, I think I'd like more people see that I have a bionic arm than the opposite. But it's pure speculation. So thanks for letting us ask questions

abshow23 karma

Ohh interesting question! If I could have both interchangeably that would be ideal! I wouldn't always want to appear to be...not me by looking like I have two hands, but the occasions where I'm somewhere formal or just not feeling up to being stared at, it might be nice to have the other! Haha!

spameggsspamandspam11 karma

Are you going to try and learn to play the drums with this new prosthetic or stick to the old method?

abshow17 karma

I’ll no doubt stay with the old method bc I won’t be able to move the wrist on the prosthetic quickly enough to drum proficiently, but I’ll definitely try it out for fun! ;)

abshow15 karma

I totally understand that perspective and can relate in some ways! We're still at the stage of development in the world of upper limb prosthetics tech where they're only going to be an assistive tool and not a "game changer" if you will. Not yet at least. ;)

GimmickNG6 karma

I see we read the same article! I suppose the benefit in OP's case is that it is probably much more lightweight than the one in the article.

abshow8 karma

I totally understand that perspective and can relate in some ways! We're still at the stage of development in the world of upper limb prosthetics tech where they're only going to be an assistive tool and not a "game changer" if you will. Not yet at least. ;)

nitramster6 karma

Stupid question but I'm curious, is the prosthetic arm/grip stronger, weaker, or about the same in power compared to an organic arm?

abshow6 karma

Weaker. For sure. I'd say maybe 25lb of pressure max at certain angles.

Camride5 karma

Do you have any pain from your amputation? If so does the prosthetic do anything for that or make it worse?

abshow16 karma

I was actually born without my hand so no pain at all. Prosthetics have always been slightly uncomfortable, that’s pretty hard to avoid, but the new one is definitely the lightest and easiest to work with yet!

charoco4 karma

The video was awesome, congrats!

I have a question about your handedness. The vast majority of people are right-hand dominant, so if you are in that majority, then your brain was presumably wired for right-handedness. If that assumption is correct, then was it difficult for you to learn how to write as a kid if your only option was your (again, presumably) non-dominant hand?

Also, do you play the cello?

abshow14 karma

That’s a good question! I’d say it wasn’t particularly difficult for me to learn things left-handed, simply because I just never knew anything different, but the rest of my family is naturally right handed so I’m thinking I probably would have been too! Nope, no cello for me. That was my former roommate’s for decoration… my sister is an excellent cellist though!

jinbtown2 karma

Genetic handedness isn't very accurate, so there's still a chance you would have been left handed! Also, our parents age (I'm your age), a lot of left handed kids "became" right handed... That's awesome that it wasn't too much work though. They tried to make me right handed for a bit, I put a stop to that.

abshow2 karma

Good for you! #lefthandgang

Throxar4 karma

Are you now considered armed and dangerous?

Do you have the right to bear-arms?

So many questions...

Anyhow: Congratz! That's awesome!

abshow7 karma

I’m a one man army! ;)

breakerfall3 karma

How do you think your experience will differ with this prosthetic versus someone who's not a congenital amputee?

abshow12 karma

Oh man... in nearly every way I imagine. I think the main difference will be the results of the fact that dependence on my right hand has never existed, whereas a post-birth amputee will always have the memory of dependence on a second hand, therefore will use the prosthetic completely differently (and probably more often) than me.

1zandzeros3 karma

When do you get your own anime where you are a one armed cellist by day and a crime fighting bionic archer-bard by night? The working titles is “The 6 Million-Dollar Cellist”

abshow3 karma

Releases next month on Disney + 😆

iliketohideincloset2 karma

Did you already high five someone? Congrats btw.

abshow3 karma

Haha yes actually!

enternationalist2 karma

I want to get into developing these types of prostheses - are there things you think are commonly missed or overlooked by the design teams working on these things?

abshow8 karma

Hmmm... probably skin tone matching and a glove covering material that's super realistic while also being easy to clean

seal_raider2 karma

Your reaction was kinda amazing btw.

Does the prosthetic provide sensation at all?

Also, I like to shoot and have known a handful of guys in the service who lost bits and pieces doing the sorts of things we do in that life… anyways. Most everyone uses some sort of claw type thing but it can be hard to really get a good hold on the rifle. And holding a pistol with two hands is right out.

Have you tried shooting with the prosthetic at all? I wonder if having a mechanically stable part of the equation would make you more accurate.

Oh, and I have long thought that if I had to give up a limb I would pick my left hand/arm. That way if someone asked me how I was doing I would hold up the stump and say “I’m all right” and then sigh, cry or something else amusing to me.

Do you ever make jokes that that? Like, “hey, did you get all those to-dos done?” “Oh, yeah, let me see what I have left…” and then just slowly stare at your left arm and then where the right isn’t and just sort of take it from there?

I feel like there is a lot of humor to be had… anyways, thanks for sharing!

abshow4 karma

I don't have any sensation through the prosthetic... yet! Maybe some day. Yes, I have shot handguns and rifles and I do okay! I just set my feet and grip the handgun tightly and it works out. I enjoyed shooting a shotgun the most though. And ohhh yes, I make jokes all the time. People are thinkin it already so I play off that for fun. ;) Thanks for the thoughts and questions! :)

andygates23231 karma

We usually see boa dials on cycling shoes. How effective is that for getting the right snug fit on Arm?

abshow2 karma

It does a pretty good job actually!

sonofabutch1 karma

What’s your Halloween costume this year?

abshow9 karma

Still trying to decide.. maybe Furiosa ;)

TheLastKenneth1 karma

What are some of your favorite songs to play? I've always wanted to learn some dream theater.

Do you have a 'Magnum Opus'?

abshow4 karma

On drums? I lovvvve to play to anything in the funk genre. I love the timing and tempo. Also pop. Then sometimes something like heavier rock, just to get out some energy. XD

Kwotter1 karma

How useful would you say the prosthetic arm is doing day-to-day tasks? And where would you hope the technology moves towards in the future?

abshow1 karma

I would say it’s about useful for 25% of my daily tasks. To be honest I will probably more often than not use it for very specific tasks and not everything. I hope that the technology continues to move forward in terms of grip strength and wrist movement and reaction time.

fatguyfromqueens1 karma

Does the arm come with a warranty? What would you have to do to void the warranty?

Asking semi seriously but they are expensive so repairs would be too.

abshow1 karma

Lol That’s actually a great question and I really don’t know the answer. I imagine if there even is an established warranty that it would be pretty generous considering most of the users of these prosthetics are going to be kids… Maybe not most actually, but plenty…

alkonium1 karma

How is the articulation?

abshow1 karma

The thumb and wrist I have to move manually… Is that what you mean?

D3f4lt_player1 karma

if you lived in the cyberpunk era where people amputate their limbs to get a stronger cyborg version would you amputate any other limb?

abshow2 karma

Hahaha no I’d probably just stick with the one

Laney201 karma

Random question about typing... Do you use a normal keyboard or do you have a one-handed keyboard?

Pretty sure the prosthetic wouldn't change that, but could you use a mouse with it?

abshow1 karma

Yeah, maybe a mouse! But yes, I do use a regular keyboard type and I’m actually pretty quick with it by using my hand and some of the keys with my “paw”

Robotbeat1 karma

Do you have a new video of you using the arm after having trained it? I imagine it’s most practical when you don’t have to use the other arm to press buttons. But training the arm to reliably actuate when you command it must be hard.

abshow4 karma

Not yet but one is coming soon!!

congratz_its_a_bunny1 karma

What sensors are there in the base of the arm? Eventually will you be able to grip without hitting the button?

abshow2 karma

Actually the arm is designed to move completely based on arm movements within the socket. In that video I hadn’t trained it yet so I could only still control it with the button, but now I’m learning how to do different movements via the sensors in the socket. :)

02S1 karma

Wow! So according to the video you can move the fingers without pressing the button, by moving your arm in the socket (if you trained it, like you said in the video). Can you maybe explain how that works?

Like do you cycle between grips with that? Can you make your own custom grips?

Also is it heavy? How often do you have to charge it?

It looks amazing! And very useful too.

abshow3 karma

Great questions! This video will probably do better at explaining than me, but in short, yes! I move my arm within the socket and the little sensors respond and move the arm. Based on the position of the thumb and color code on the LED sensor, there are different movement “cycles” as you said!

prm20_1 karma

how did you go about the process of getting one? are there any plans to release to the public?

my son was born with an ulnar deficiency so one arm is shorter/missing fingers where the ulnar bone would’ve grown, so i’ve been interested in looking into prosthetic limbs

abshow2 karma

Yes, check out to see if your don might be eligible for a fitting!

enky2591 karma

Hi! If i understood you correctly in your video, your prosthetic can read nerve signals to initiate movement (correct me i i'm wrong), would the fact that you never had a right hand to begin with, and therefore lack the neural architecture for right-hand mobility pose an obstacle to your (and that of the prosthetic's algorythm) learning curve?

All the best to you, i hope (and believe) that the next decades will have wonderfull surprises in store for you!

abshow7 karma

It's actually controlled by my movements within the socket. So basically I flex my "paw" within the socket, the electrodes that read the movement are triggered and the arm responds. :)

joe78man1 karma

How do you compute (perceive, feel) the fact of using a hand that is not yours and it's not even replacing something you ever had?

abshow3 karma

Well, I grew up with prosthetics so it's sort of like an "accessory" that I'm very accustomed to at this point.

Stile21121 karma

Pepsi or Coke?

abshow3 karma

Coke ;)

MrBAnthony1 karma

Have you ever experienced phantom pains? If so, did the prosthethic reduce the amount of “episodes”?

abshow3 karma

Nope, I was born without it so no phantom pains for me. 🙏🏻

TikkiTakiTomtom1 karma

Are you taking your arm out for a test ride with the AMA?

And congrats!

abshow3 karma

Heck ya! 🦾