Michael Bailey is a technology nut and always keeps up with the
latest developments, but he never thought for one minute that he
would become one of the first people in the world to be the
recipient of an incredible new technology development.
A student at the ITT Technical Institute in Atlanta, Michael
studies multimedia design and dreams of one day working as a video
game designer. In his spare time, he works on his hobby, fixing
"I feel most at peace when I'm getting my hands dirty working on
a car," he says. "If any of my friends has a problem with their
car, they just bring it on over and I see what I can do."
On March 5, 2008, Michael Bailey was working in a paper
recycling plant, cleaning out an industrial paper baler as normal.
A moment's lapse in concentration was to have horrific consequences
as the machine trapped one of his hands in its mechanism.
"Well, the machine did what it was supposed to and that's how I
ended up with my injury," says Michael, without a hint of
As a result Michael lost three of the fingers on his left hand,
plus half of the rest of his hand and five of the eight bones in
"At first it seemed like it was the end of life as I knew it,"
says Michael. "But slowly I began to realize it was just a little
speed bump on the road of my life."
It took about a month and a half for Michael to come to terms
with his injury and get over the initial reaction and shock. Normal
things that other people would take for granted became more
difficult - more trips to the car for groceries, folding clothes,
cleaning the house - but he eventually realized that there was more
to life than his injury.
"It just kind of clicked that this wasn't the end, but possibly
a new beginning," he says.
Michael underwent physical therapy for about six months
following his injury, at which point his therapist introduced him
to Robert S. Kistenberg, a prosthetist at Touch Bionics' Touch Life
Center in Atlanta. Kistenberg explained the work the company was
doing, especially its development of ProDigits. After establishing
his suitability for the product, Michael worked closely with Robert
to develop the molds and fittings required to build a custom
ProDigits prosthesis for his injury, and he was fitted in July
"I had thought about prosthetics a little bit, but had no idea
that companies like Touch Bionics were developing such advanced
technology and so I was in complete awe when I found out about
ProDigits," he says. "I've always been big on technology, so this
was a real eye opener and incredibly exciting to be involved
Despite having never used a myoelectric prosthetic device
before, Michael found adapting to ProDigits incredibly easy.
"Honestly, I had only put it on for five minutes and I was
getting it to work just fine," he says. "It feels like it belongs
there, like it's part of me."
Michael has a matt black high-tech computer modelled covering
for ProDigits, which matches his carbon fibre socket covering for
the device, rather than the flesh-tone options available from Touch
"I like the way it looks - I get looks from people on the street
and I like that!" he chuckles.
Indeed, the reaction he has had from the people around him has
been overwhelmingly positive.
The main benefit of ProDigits for Michael is that it just makes
simple things so much easier - picking things up while vacuuming,
working on cars, even playing with his five year old son, Sean
"All in all, the injury has actually helped me to appreciate
things more and to notice the smaller, more important things in
life," he says. "It was definitely a blessing in disguise - it's
been a really unique and educational experience for me."