Of course one can spend all day theoretically analyzing grip options and comparing different options or, just do it.
It is intriguing to see recent surges of apparent ADL (activity of daily living) demonstrated with so-called "bionic hands" (including Otto Bock Michelangelo hand, iLimb by TouchBionics and BeBionic by RSL Steeper). For the most part, these are not a demonstration of a need to wear any of these hands.
There are people that realize that not all advertising really means the offered solution works. Hand transplants - as useful or useless as some of the new 'bionic' hand gadgets - are known to fail and some people take a while before they verbally and publicly admit that body powered hooks are not as bad after all. As Jeff Kepner said in a video interview - with a hook you know what to expect. The difference still is that 'bionic' hands can be put aside - whereas hand transplants cannot.
Stories like that makes you consider however just how much can be done without ANY prosthetic or transplanted hand. Just to get a feel for the functionality and to fully feel with the extremity.
Videos are at least somewhat non-negotiable, and therein lies their beauty. Conversely you will hate me for the simplicity of (at least some of) these. So below is a demo of actual ADL using the arm stump only. Any of these may be also carried out with a prosthetic arm, but in many instances they work a lot better with 'just' the stump. Old orthopedic surgeons used to say "the best prosthetic arm is the stump itself" and it seems that the extra time my surgeon spent on my arm to fix it up proper and neat was time well spent. I find that the stump he left we with is in fact useful - long enough and sensitive.
When I use my stick blender, I want to rinse it off after using it then clean it. For that I need to unplug it. Of course I could always make sure I wear the prosthetic arm each and every time I mix something up - but then it turns out that just wrapping the cable around the stump twice allows me to nudge the plug out at once.
As I take an interest in what function of a prosthetic terminal device such as a hand is useful, I also take an interest in things I do not need it for. For various reasons. My skin needs to recover and I cannot wear the arm all the time. Also I am interested in what grips do and what grips do not represent a "benchmark" grip that is useful to compare prosthetic devices such as hands against each other.
So when I read the statement "I can do [X] with the prosthesis" I immediately tend to go "wow!" - but on second thought I ask myself, well, was that really necessary? Was it necessary to even put the arm on in the first place? Can I do [X] also without the prosthesis? Or get it done differently?
Obviously some advertising of the Smart Hand project says that the Smart Hand would cover at least 80% of the grips contained in ADL (activities of daily living) - but I already solve a lot of grip situations for ADL without any prosthesis, not elegantly maybe, but I'll be getting there. So what does "I can do [X] with the prosthesis" tell us really? What does it tell us about the understanding the creators of advanced prosthetics have: where is that detailed analysis that they base their work on?
So I started to pay closer attention. And I figured out that a number of things that I do require not much of a prosthesis. Some prostheses are presented as particularly useful because you can put a tie on, open a bottle, et cetera. But in reality these are Activities of No Particular Prosthetic Need (ANPPN). So these activities are not very useful to show the use of a prosthesis.
A typical example that can be encountered at times is that of putting on a tie. Yes, given the correct setup it is possible to knot a tie with a prosthetic arm. But I can put that tie on just as well without the prosthesis.
I am not always wearing the prosthesis or keeping my stump uncovered to air it out. Often, some protective clothing or stump socks are helpful.
I got myself a second hand Vester 'tradition line' jazz bass guitar. E-guitars are nice but it is always drum and bass that really set the groove...
Putting on and taking off wrist watch is not too hard even without a sophisticated prosthesis. In fact this is a lot easier without artificial arm. I mean, I tried. I know.
Tying shoe laces as a below elbow amputee is very tempting and seems to be easy to accomplish but still: it does not fall into your lap for free.