Go ahead and stare at my prosthetic arm. I know it’s awesome.
September 22, 2022 11:47 AM   Subscribe

 
Great story - whatever you do, you do you. In which I imagine getting the badass full sleeve tat arm that I've occasionally envisioned but never summoned the patience (endurance?) to pursue and which would scarcely draw a second glance except for it's exquisite designs. What might yours look like?
posted by thecincinnatikid at 12:07 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


Please someone ping the guys over at The Last Leg about this, they would love it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:11 PM on September 22


This makes me think of a tiktok poster, Rachel.Mackenzlee, who uses a prosthetic eye. Her collection includes iridescent glitter and one with a gold iris.
posted by bizzyb at 12:17 PM on September 22 [5 favorites]


This makes me think of a tiktok poster, Rachel.Mackenzlee, who uses a prosthetic eye. Her collection includes iridescent glitter and one with a gold iris.

LOL - this reminds me of a story Sandi Toksvig once told on an episode of QI about how she had a grandfather with a prosthetic eye. She said that he had a second one made up for himself that looked like the regular eye, only bloodshot; he called it his "Party Eye", and when he wanted to go out on the town, he'd put it in and announce to the family that "I'm going to the pub, and I won't come back until both eyes match!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:19 PM on September 22 [52 favorites]


There's some girl in my town who has a fake leg along these lines. It's very impressive.

I loved the quotes in this one.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:34 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


This is really cool. I wish I had more to add at the moment, but I loved her outlook, her decision, the whole shebang.
posted by Kitteh at 12:43 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


Googling “Sailor Moon glitter holographic Infinity Gauntlet” led me nowhere

Internet time moves pretty fast -- if she'd started her search just a short while later, that would make for a pretty amazing midjourney prompt that would come up with some wild and probably inspiring stuff.
posted by tclark at 12:45 PM on September 22 [7 favorites]


I want my new arm to remind people that although it’s rude to stare, it’s okay to notice. It’s okay to see me as I see myself.

I loved this essay so so much. The research about artificial limbs and the uncanny valley stuff was new and fascinating to me. It totally makes sense. Thank you for posting this, Etrigan. It's given my day a nice boost.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:56 PM on September 22 [6 favorites]


Just a small point of order, it seems to me intentionally glitter / colourful is against the spirit of uncanny valley, no? As close to realistic but with two thumbs or a scifi servo style elbow would be more in the spirt. But hey, her arm, whatever!
posted by Meatbomb at 2:40 PM on September 22


That is so cool! I love the butterflies she picked out.

Just a small point of order, it seems to me intentionally glitter / colourful is against the spirit of uncanny valley, no?

I read it as her wanting to avoid an uncanny valley arm & using that as permission to go over-the-top badass & have fun with it
posted by taquito sunrise at 3:02 PM on September 22 [20 favorites]


it seems to me intentionally glitter / colourful is against the spirit of uncanny valley, no?

That's the point, she doesn't want it to be uncanny valley.
posted by signal at 3:02 PM on September 22 [10 favorites]


I love this!

My dad was born without a left forearm. He just had a stump below his elbow.

He also had a 1970s prosthetic arm. He hated it. It was bulky, heavy, functionless, and looked as realistic as a shop window mannequin. He wore it once or twice to formal occasions, then banished it to the back of the shelf in his wardrobe.

So it was pretty mindblowing for me when I discovered cyberpunk in the earlier 1990s and their predictions that cyberlimbs would become designer-label fashion items.

But they were right. Give humans a tool, and we'll turn it into art. People bling up their wheelchairs and 3D print superhero prosthetic hands for kids.

It's awesome.
posted by davidwitteveen at 3:29 PM on September 22 [6 favorites]


As a half-Italian, I laughed at: As an Italian, I speak with my hands even when dreaming.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:11 PM on September 22 [5 favorites]


I use forearm crutches, and while I didn't go so far as to completely design them, I did get a neat pair in a bright, vibrant red.

You cannot miss me coming down the street!
posted by spinifex23 at 4:29 PM on September 22 [25 favorites]


YEAH

+many for the Mood cameo! Making it work!
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 5:48 PM on September 22 [3 favorites]


Googling “Sailor Moon glitter holographic Infinity Gauntlet” led me nowhere

But the next person who googles that will get this excellent story.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:51 PM on September 22 [11 favorites]


A link from TFA led me to altlimbpro with many other cool prosthetics.
posted by bendy at 6:55 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


There is so so so much more to be done here that it frankly dizzies me.

(they're [plural] doing good work, I'm not saying they're not doing enough, it's just that the scope of possibility is so huge it almost beggars description, and I think people should realize the scope of it.)
posted by aramaic at 8:01 PM on September 22


My great-grandfather was a tailor and also had a wooden prosthetic leg, worn under pants of course. The story goes that whenever new clients came in and caught him working, he'd use an awl a bit and then smash it directly into his (wooden) leg, to the shock and horror of the clients.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:07 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


I love this. I have been railing against flesh-toned hearing aids since I first started wearing them over 30 years ago. My first one was the awful putty colour that totally created the uncanny valley phenomenon, like there was a weird lumpy growth on my ear. The next time I went with the advice to try and match it with my hair and got the brown colour, and that was a slight improvement but still looked super plastic-y. Somehow trying to make it look like the body only makes it vaguely disgusting, which ironically only adds to the stigma of wearing the devices. It has taken so long for hearing aid manufacturers to start offering a range of colours and patterns, just treating it like the high tech device that it is and not trying to weirdly camouflage it as part of the body. I mean, a hearing aid isn't even a prosthesis, and yet is treated like one.

But I know a lot of people still go for the flesh tones, hoping it will hide the device. It really resonates with me how Toscano goes the other direction, choosing to make it a personalised accessory. When I got a cochlear implant 5 years ago I was really disappointed (and continue to be) that the colour choices are white, black, grey, brown and beige. Why not aluminium or metallic like jewellery or brightly coloured like nail art or other more cool and trendy tech devices? I choose to see the devices I wear as cyborg accessories, not imitation flesh.

Toscano is right--it fools no one. I long ago worked with a young woman who wore a prosthetic leg that went all the way to her upper thigh, and how heavy and ungainly and useless it was, not to mention painful to wear. The only thing it was good for was standing. Walking was very unstable, and still required a cane or crutches, so what really was the point? She was so much happier without the prosthesis, and would keep it stored next to her desk all day, moving around with crutches and one leg far more easily. I think she totally would have chosen a highly personalised version that privileged usefulness and visibility over disguise or concealment. But then it really is a comment on ableism that it's paramount for disabilities to be hidden.
posted by amusebuche at 10:23 PM on September 22 [13 favorites]


It's occurred to me before that if I ever did end up with a prosthesis I'd want it to add some functionality or resilience in lieu of that which it would inevitably lack. Artificial hand? I'd like to be able to scoop chips right out of the deep fat fryer, please.
posted by Major Clanger at 1:55 AM on September 23 [6 favorites]


It really resonates with me how Toscano goes the other direction, choosing to make it a personalised accessory.

One of our Boxers once got a canine cracked off when he inexplicably decided it would be fun to catch a bocce ball - and while animal dentists aren't cheap, we instantly decided that if we were coughing up that kind of cash to have a canine replaced, by God he was gonna sport a brilliant shining silver fang. The doc thought we wee wack but damn if that dog didn't get even greater love sporting his silver chomper.
posted by thecincinnatikid at 6:39 AM on September 23 [12 favorites]


It turns her decision to go from a "useless" meat arm to a functional manufactured arm into a choice -- and by adding aesthetic factors to the purely mechanical ones, it makes it a positive, upward choice.

I'm with Major Clanger! If I got a prosthetic limb, I would seriously consider asking for one that's transparent, or has a niche for an Apple Watch and my lockpicks and some mints, or something. Why pretend to be just flesh when you could be anything??

Go, her!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:00 AM on September 23 [6 favorites]


The arm is indeed awesome.
posted by meowzilla at 8:49 AM on September 23


if we were coughing up that kind of cash to have a canine replaced, by God he was gonna sport a brilliant shining silver fang.

"Yea silver. In case he gets into a scuffle with any werewolves."
posted by pwnguin at 10:53 AM on September 23 [11 favorites]


Great story, Pyrogenesis! Apparently one of my great uncles was a carne who lost a leg after falling asleep (or drunkenly collapsing) on a railroad track. Have no idea if it was true. Anyway, his replacement leg was wooden. Supposedly he would face off with young men his age at the carnival and challenge guys his age to feats of derring do such as ... sticking pins into their legs. He won every time.

(Everything about that story is creepy to me. This FPP and the other stories are much better.)
posted by Bella Donna at 11:08 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


"Yea silver. In case he gets into a scuffle with any werewolves."

Which we feared, of course, so kept close watch of whose hair was perfect.
posted by thecincinnatikid at 4:39 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


If I ever get in that situation, you'd better get I'm adding a phone charger, laser pointer, bottle opener and other gadgetry to a Swiss Army Arm.
posted by MattWPBS at 7:05 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


The altlimbpro site bendy linked has some excellent alternative limbs. It seems that if you're going to go full Furiosa, there are so many fun cyberpunk ideas, like Viktoria Modesta with her crystal, spike or glowing legs. There's also opportunity for specialization, like Aimee Mullins who says she has "12 pairs of legs" for different tasks from walking the red-carpet, to rock climbing, and to being a cheetah-woman with backwards knees in creepy horror films. And why keep the prosthetic antropomorphic when you could have tentacles or vines?
posted by autopilot at 9:06 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


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