People play Beat Saber a lot of different ways but I don’t think we’ve seen someone using a “bionic” arm before.
Beat Saber player Joey Durbin posted a video to Twitter showing him wearing the ‘Hero Arm’ prosthetic to play the game. I contacted Durbin via direct message seeking to understand how he plays VR while using the device, made by UK-based Open Bionics, and he offered some answers.
— Joseph Durbin (@the_joe_dubbs) November 12, 2019
The 18-year-old from Pennsylvania wrote that he “got a WMR headset about a year ago and I played everything from Beat Saber to Gorn to SkyrimVR. I just had to get really creative for some of those games because of my lack of a left hand.” In recent weeks he started using the “Hero Arm”, as it is called, which is a myoelectric prosthetic with different grips.
“One of them has three of the fingers closed and locked in place. In this mode, I still have control of my index finger so I can pull the trigger,” Durbin wrote. “I’ve had the arm for a few weeks now and I just tried it with VR for the first time a few days ago. So far the experience has been pretty good. Being able to pull the trigger with my left hand is a huge improvement over just strapping a controller to my left arm and pressing the buttons with my right hand. I’m still working with it and I’m always finding better ways of using the arm in VR. . . Besides Beat Saber I have only tried Pavlov and the Lab with the arm. The added functionality is really obvious in those games like grabbing the bow in Longbow or grabbing a new clip and reloading a gun in Pavlov.”
Durbin explained the device “works by picking up the electrical signals from the muscles in my arm” and he can change the grip by pressing a button on the back of the hand and then flexing his arm muscles to hold “an open signal.” He described it as “kind of like doing a long press on a smartphone.”
Do you know anyone else that’s tried VR with prosthetic arms before? Let us know what you think of Joey’s skills down in the comments below!