Cobble Hill’s Malcolm Taylor was fitted with a new myoelectric arm earlier this year. (Submitted)

Cobble Hill’s Malcolm Taylor was fitted with a new myoelectric arm earlier this year. (Submitted)

Cobble Hill teen marked 2020 with new myoelectric arm

New prosthetic can sense and respond to muscle impulses

Malcolm Taylor doesn’t mind talking about his arm.

You’re not going to bring up anything the 14-year-old from Cobble Hill hasn’t already heard.

“I have had every kind of question,” he assures.

A Grade 9 student at Frances Kelsey Secondary School, Taylor was born with just one hand, his left arm ending just a little bit above the elbow. Last year, he was fitted with a myoelectric arm, which can sense muscle impulses and allows him to open and close the hand simply by flexing the muscles in his residual limb.

Taylor has had different non-electrical prosthetics in the past, and a previous electrical one, but this is the best one he’s ever had. It’s not quite state-of-the-art, he says, but it’s the best in terms of price and functionality.

The arm was paid for by the War Amps CHAMP program. The War Amps began more than 100 years ago to assist war amputee veterans returning from the First World War. It has expanded its programs over the years to support all amputees.

“They pay for all my prosthetics,” Taylor points out. “It makes life a lot easier.”

Taylor received his current prosthetic about six months ago after working with beta versions before that. The process involved having a cast taken from his arm, getting the prosthetic custom-fitted, and having the electrodes fine-tuned. The work is done by a prosthesist, and isn’t invasive.

“There’s no surgery,” Taylor explains. “I can take it on and off at any time.”

The many steps were worth it for the new arm.

“I can do a lot more things than I could with the other one,” Taylor says.

The myoelectric arm allows for gripping motions that Taylor’s previous prostetics didn’t, like grabbing a stick.

“I’ve tried throwing things but with little success,” he says, adding that would change with practice. It definitely makes a difference that he grew up without a hand.

“It would probably be easier for someone who has had a hand before to get the hang of it,” he says.

Taylor’s previous prosthetics didn’t have nearly as much going for them.

“Have you seen a hook hand in a pirate movie?” he asks. “It’s not inaccurate.”

He couldn’t have picked up a medical face mask with the old one, for example. And the new one works well enough that he doesn’t have to put one thing down to pick another up.

“It takes away that extra step that’s always annoying,” he says.

Taylor will have to get a new prosthetic, eventually, but he can probably get this one refitted before that happens.

“They’re supposed to be very tight,” he relates. “So you grow out of them really quickly.”

Other kids at school definitely approve of this one.

“They think it’s really cool,” Taylor says.

Not only is he not shy about discussing the arm, he admits he may even show off from time to time.

“I can punch walls,” he says with a mischievous laugh. “So I do that occasionally.”

cowichan valley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A graphic design of the new RCMP detachment which will be located on a five-acre property bordering Ford Road and Drinkwater Road. (File graphic)
Heavy trucks not allowed shortcut during construction of RCMP detachment

North Cowichan won’t allow heavy trucks on Drinkwater Road where not designated

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Laketown Ranch to welcome campers this summer

Sunfest site will provide camping amenities between May and September

‘I chose my children’s breakfasts purely based on what dishes would fit best into the dishwasher.’ (Bobbi Venier photo)
Sarah Simpson Column: Delayed gratification and the benefits of efficiency

I was driving with just my daughter the other day and we… Continue reading

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Chemainus teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

The frequent disruptions to water service in Chemainus are expected to be a lot less after North Cowichan replaces the Smiley Road water main. (File photo)
Smiley Road water main in Chemainus to be replaced

$890,000 project expected to be completed this spring

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Most Read