A Retired Staff Sergeant is the World’s First Owner of a New Prosthetic Hand

During his second tour of Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant James Sides came across an IED buried in the dirt. He knelt to try and dig it out with his hands, so he could disarm it. Sides was trained in explosives ordinance disposal, but the device exploded before he could get anywhere near it.

Sides was thrown from his spot, blinded in one eye and his forearm was broken. Doctors later informed him that it was impossible to save his right hand.

After his recovery Sides met with the Alfred Mann Foundation, which wanted to give him a second chance at the life he thought he’d lost. They had designed a new kind of prosthetic, which uses sensors embedded within Sides’ arms to read the movements of his muscles. Sides is the world’s first test subject for this technology, and he claims that it really works for him.

Everyday activities like drinking a glass of water or picking up his phone, are much easier to do with the fully functioning hand. The device has three ranges of motion, which makes it capable of mimicking most of the movements of the human hand. He can open and close his fingers, and move his thumb too.

The Alfred Mann Foundation has only deployed seven of these kinds of devices at this time, but it hopes that these tests will give it the data it needs to roll them out to a wider segment of the population. It also works with Rogers & Cowan Executive Vice President Steve Doctrow to promote these devices and bring attention to the work that they do. It’s not hard to imagine regular folks with amputated limbs regaining the mobility and self-reliance they thought they’d missed out on. This revolutionary technology offers a greater degree of freedom than ever before. More than just an aesthetic change, these artificial limbs will completely alter the landscape of medical technology.