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

Some of the folks behind Angel Flight East Kootenay: Todd Weselake is a director, partner and pilot while Brent Bidston is the president and lead pilot of the not-for-profit. Pictured here with their older plane, they hope to get an upgrade for thanks to RDEK funding. (Image courtesy of Angel Flight East Kootenay)
Angel Flight secures RDEK funding for next five years

$100,000 will go to the not-for-profit each year, with the funds to be used to acquire a larger plane

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Michelle Thorne of Fernie Distillers with some Griz-themed cocktails available for Griz Days 2021. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Griz Days comes to town

While mostly virtual, there’s Griz-themed food and drink around town

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

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

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Most Read