Greenwood Man Learns To Use Robotic Arm Controlled By His Thoughts

GREENWOOD (KFSM) — Greenwood truck driver, David Scott was the first person in Arkansas to undergo surgery to allow him to control a robotic arm with his thoughts and he is now home learning to use that arm.

"I can move an arm now... yes!" Scott exclaimed.

Scott has had his robotic arm for more than one month.

"It makes it a little easier because I watch people and see how they move and I try to move the same movement they do," Scott said.

His 18-wheeler crashed July 31, 2017. His arm was pinned under the truck. Doctors told him his arm had to be amputated.

Doctors at UAMS moved his nerve endings on his left side so he would be able to operate the electrodes on the robotic arm. Now, movements like putting on a shirt are something he has learned to do again, but this time, with a new arm.

The robotic arm is able to move in similar ways to a typical arm and the nails and fingers look realistic, too.

"It does move up and down and I press a button and it`ll release the arm to just let it swing naturally," Scott said. "It`s really cool because I can walk naturally and it`ll look natural."

He said how the arm works with his brain is the best part.

"We have the electrodes inside that are supposed to be attached to me. I can move the shoulder all day long and it doesn`t phase me, but if these electrodes are not touching the skin, it will not work at all," Scott said.

Scott has had some problems with always getting the robotic arm to allow him to pick up things and use the hand. He is working with doctors to adjust those issues.

Support from his wife and friends are what have helped him get through the healing process. His wife, Billie said he shocks them sometimes with what he's able to do.

"We were talking one night and he pointed at me and I asked, "Oh you`re going to point your finger at me?"" Billie said. "He`s having to learn that his hand will sometimes work it just depends on what he`s thinking at that time."

Scott is now working with doctors to figure out how the electrodes and the robotic arm's battery are affecting movements of his new hand. He said he won't give up, and he encourages others to do the same.

"Don`t let it get you down, hang in there and hang tough. God is with you, put your family with you and you can make it through anything. I did and it worked," he said.

He is still able to play disc golf, softball and fetch with his dogs, which he says he enjoys. He has also been able to use one arm to help build a front porch on his house.