Artistic visions for prosthetic design XXI - Red Arm with custom made Centri PVC Glove
For my Becker Imperial hand, I ordered 5 pieces of Centri's PVC glove #130914zz2 (Color Pantone 186C, red) directly from Centri, Sweden. Price for all five gloves including shipping was 566,25 Euro. So after they sent me their offer and I submitted payment, mail was here 5 days later. Really fast for a custom build.
Of course you could ask yourself why anyone would want to wear a red (rather than skin colored) prosthetic hand. Well, there is a long story there, and a long series of tests that went into this (Red Hand / Red Arm series), and also, some more theoretical background on why, exactly and of all colors, it had to be red.
At any rate, this is probably the most aggressive or daring, the most visibly intruding, the most recent and probably the most functional in recent prosthetic hand design. Of course it is extremely functional as all the Red gloves do are ornamenting a Becker hand - which in my view beats competitive products by lengths in terms of weight, appearance, functionality, price and robustness.
Artists and industrial designers have addressed the appearances of prosthetic hands and arms over and over - but as far as I see, none of these have made it into even small series of industrial prosthetic component manufacturers and only a dwindling minority have landed on a dwindling minority of amputees.
I am extremely happy that Centri went along with it. I had asked several manufacturers to comply with specific design requests of mine and so far and quite depressingly, no other one had complied. That is hard to understand as normally, selling more units is better than selling less, and I always offered to pay for any additional cost if any that my customization would have incurred. So on top of being stubborn, we conclude that some other prosthetic component manufacturers also may have to improve their business manners. After all, requesting a transparent or a colored product doesn't necessarily constitute an indecent offer.
With Centri producing red cosmetic PVC gloves for me as consumer, we now know that
(1) even major prosthetic component manufacturers can fabricate small custom series,
(2) and they can do that at reasonable prices, as well as
(3) reasonably fast and
(4) friendly, and also
(5) they support amputee driven design requests and
(6) sell directly to the customer.
Red was the color I played with for a while (see previous reports in my Red Arm series) and red was the only design a number of friends repeatedly asked me to wear again after I had done so a while back and then changed to other looks. I am more than absolutely delighted on how well that turned out. I had already been a huge fan of the Centri PVC gloves - slippery enough to get in and out of sleeves but good for grips, sturdy enough to survive my rough usage for a while, and good enough in terms of anatomical detail to at least put a bit of smiles on faces. I mean, you have to grin when you see these. With red, however, grin gets a wide smile.
At any rate, here is a first glance on how that came out.
Red can look extremely serious in case you wondered.
Centri PVC gloves can make for a great grip quality enhancer when worn on a Becker hand. And I love that they carefully added skin crease and nail fold structures (well, as careful as they add it to their skin-colored PVC gloves):
Hehe : ) I am sure proud of this now.
It has been alleged that an i-Limb is required to successfully hold on to a smart phone or iPhone.
Here you see onto my Red Becker hand's adaptive grip as it firmly holds my phone horizontally such as for video watching or game play, and if you still believe that your hugely expensive myoelectric ""bionic"" hands is necessary for that - or to look cool - you have been 0wned by someone who has a lot of your money now.
But if you ask nicely, I am sure Centri can make some usefully colored gloves for you too ; )
Side view - Becker hand with Centri custom Red PVC glove, adaptive grip with iPhone:
A rear view onto the adaptive grip shows how the Becker Imperial hand's fingers wrap - with red PVC glove and all:
Here, the iPhone or smart phone in regular vertical position, being fingered by yours truly:
This marks a successful end point of my quest for the Red Hand so far:
a) my orthopedic technician already built custom colored sockets for me, and
b) I now got Centri to make me custom Red PVC gloves to go with my Becker hands.
Red as color works counter-intuitively when worn on a prosthetic arm. People practically don't stare at it any more with this extremely flashy red appearance. It conveys a different message than skin colored or well assimilated tech geek appearances - which are appearances sanctioned by industry designers. Visceral Red is not sanctioned by anyone except me. If seen on paper or screen, it screams. As another arm amputee wrote to me about the Red Paw project a while back:
You have succeded in changing thought patterns, perceptions and reactions towards the physically disabled. You have also spiked my interest and shifted my focus regarding my own lack of a right hand. The photo of you sporting the rote pfote brought a rather visceral reaction for me. I have never had any problem wearing hooks or other mechanical devices to get through my daily task list. My recent artistic additions to the socket have lifted reactions from "oh my, how tragic" to "that's interesting" but your red hand packs a punch that says "BAM! THIS PLASTIC HAND IS AN ENERGY SOURCE! LOOK, STARE,TOUCH, ASK....BEWARE OF THE MAN WEARING IT...YOU MAY BE SCORCHED BY THE HEAT OF HIS CONFIDENCE!"
Well done Wolf! I like your style.
Yeah it may need balls to ask for this and to wear it. But I wasn't getting no passport or visa to anyone else's small garden of good taste, I wasn't asking for agreement here. This is not about taste at all. Much rather, it's about dominance, equality and respect, it is also about very basic aspects of communcation. The red hand is not at all a polite letter of application, but a clear vital reaction, proof of life. It contains a degree of immediacy that is so far unprecedented in prosthetic design - and now, on an industrial level.
Thank you, John Becker, for building extremely lovable and useful hands. Thank you Centri, for going along with this. You do make my day, you really do.