The importance of being seen, heard and understood for neurotechnology end-users (Center for Neurotechnology at University of Washington):
“Today, when realistic-looking prosthetic hands with articulating fingers are becoming more widely available, one of the first things many people notice about John Kemp is that he chooses to use prosthetic metal clamps instead of hands.
“These don’t look functional,” Kemp said, holding up his clamps. “They’re highly functional. I wear these all day. I need function. I need reliable and durable equipment.”
Kemp, who was born without arms and legs, uses two leg prostheses in addition to his prosthetic metal hand-clamps. Although he could opt for higher-tech solutions for his upper body, Kemp asserts that the clamps do everything he needs, and they have the added benefit of being more durable than most high-tech prosthetic hands. Plus, he can fix his hand-clamps himself if something breaks, which is important for a man who regularly travels the globe…
Kemp used his hand-clamps at the CNT’s August Practitioner and End-User Roundtable as a metaphor describing what many in the disability community have experienced when trying to find a prosthetic that works well. High-tech solutions are not necessarily the right choice for everyone, and all too often neurotechnology is designed without carefully assessing the user’s wants and needs first.
“The user experience has to be paramount and has to be respected,” Kemp said. “The engineer has to listen very carefully to what the person [neurotechnology end-user] wants to do and not substitute their judgment or desires for the person. Even if they disagree, they cannot substitute. They have to follow what the person wants to do with their prostheses. It’s about helping a person fulfill their wishes.”