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

Ladysmith’s famous Festival of Lights decorations are still up as of March 1, 2021. (Cole Schisler photo)
PHOTOS: It’s still looking a lot like Christmas in Ladysmith

Festival of Lights volunteers cannot remove the holiday roof top displays due to COVID-19

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Firefighters from three departments battled a house fire south of Nanaimo for more than nine hours Sunday. (Photo courtesy Martin Leduc)
Home in Cedar destroyed by fire

Firefighters from three fire departments battle blaze fanned by strong winds Sunday

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in fatal Chemainus hit-and-run

Investigation expected to be lengthy and involved

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour early on Saturday, Feb. 27. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Most Read