Many unfortunate people have less than the median
number of arms or hands, most often due to previous
or sheer misfortune. Much effort has therefore been put
into developing prosthetic limbs for monodextrous or
Such prostheses, in ancient times, were
and were fitted for aesthetic reasons (not unlike Tycho
Brahe's false nose, but obviously more hand-shaped and
less nose-shaped). In the early 20th century, more
functional and less aesthetic prostheses were developed,
often including a simple gripping capability. Over the
few decades, things have advanced to the point where
myoelectric hands - controlled by nerve impulses picked
through the skin - are now a thing.
Howevertheless, until we develop a better way for the
brain to communicate with a mechanical prosthesis -
preferably in both directions - artificial hands will
to be problematic.
As an interim solution, therefore, MaxiMed is currently
trialling its latest invention - the prosthetic koala.
is very simple, and does not require the detailed
customization needed for conventional prostheses. The
artificial eucalyptus log has a recess at one end into
the stump of the arm is fitted, and velcro straps hold it
securely in place.
Installing the koala is equally straightforward - simply
it onto the log, and tighten the belt that holds it in
with its little hands reaching out. The belt is cunningly
designed not to occlude the koala's pouch, which makes
convenient place in which to keep loose change or train
All that remains is to train your prosthesis. Koalas are
quite amenable and surprisingly intelligent, and will
quickly learn what is needed of them. Their little hands
will soon learn to pick up a glass of ouzo, turn a doornob,
or scatch an itchy nose when presented with the
opportunity. They can also master a few basic verbal
commands*, expanding their repertoire.
Best of all, koalas are of course sensitive, and can
a sort of tactile feedback to the wearer, albeit at one
removed. This can be a huge advantage: for instance, a
simple mechanical prosthesis cannot warn you that the
of tea you are raising to your lips is scalding hot; a koala,
however, can and will. Koalas also have a degree of
autonomy, so they can be left to get on with simple tasks
such signing your name or holding down a chord on your
Strat, whilst you look elsewhere.
The dexterity of your prosthetic koala also far exceeds
available from even the best artificial hand. Indeed, in
many situations, the wearer of a prosthetic koala has the
edge over an able-bodied human, being able to avail
themselves of a total of three hands and fifteen digits. You can finally nail that G#m7b9 chord.
Please note that survivors of our earlier "prosthetic
program are automatically entitled to enrol in the
prosthetic koala trials.
(*Incoming, that is. Koalas seldom speak with any