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)

B.C. teen getting in touch with his new myoelectric arm

Malcolm Taylor’s 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 the rural southern Vancouver Island community of 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.

RELATED: A Vancouver Island grandmother is raising funds for grandson’s prosthetic eye

RELATED: Vancouver Island War Amps Champ enjoying new myoelectric arm

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.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

cowichan valley

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

Just Posted

Erin Haluschak visits the VI Free Daily/PQB News studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Erin Haluschak talks missing persons on Vancouver Island, women in media

Podcast: Black Press reporter also talks about importance of women in the media

(File photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo to increase fees for disposal of mattresses

Current rate of $15 per unit not enough to cover recycling

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

NEW CUTLINE Payphone use is declining dramatically. (Black Press Files)

This payphone sits just east of TD Bank in Parksville, on Harrison Avenue. (Emily Vance photo)
Last call approaches for Vancouver Island payphones?

Some payphones don’t get used for days as mobile phones diminishing need

Garden centre manager Jack Olszewski and Chris Beaudoin say business has grown by 50 per cent at the Sooke Home Hardware Store. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
Flower power: COVID restrictions fuel bloom boom on Vancouver Island’

More people seeking flowers to add colour, says Sooke landscaper

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Most Read