Amputee with robotic arm shares ‘funny’ experience—but she couldn’t have predicted the response

"I’m not mad at them!"
March 19, 2018 4:10 pm Last Updated: March 19, 2018 4:10 pm

Think about the last time your phone battery was low. Did you find yourself mentally planning how, when, and where you would charge it?

It seems like nowadays our phones have become so important in many of our lives that they have become an extension of our arms.

Angel Giuffria had a personal experience at South by Southwest that made her realize just how attached we really are. Her tongue in cheek tweet went viral.

Angel Giuffria was born without a left arm.

The self-proclaimed cyborg is a congenital amputee—born without an arm—and has been using “electric devices” since she was four months old.

Giuffria told TechRepublic that since she’s had a prosthetic since she was a baby she’s been able to see the incredible growth in technology, especially in the past 10 years.

“About 10 years ago, the first multi-articulating hands came out and about three years ago is when this hand, the first ever small size hand came out,” she said. “Before that I was wearing hands that were three times the size of my hand because I wanted the function. Otherwise I would have had to sacrifice function just to have something that was similar to the size.”

Her current prosthetic arm looks very robotic.

Giuffria, who has also acted in several movies, recently attended SXSW in Austin, Texas where she attended a panel on disabilities.

While at the panel she started to hear a beeping noise. Her robotic hand was running low on batteries.

After using her arm at SXSW she needed to recharge it.

“I pulled my charger out of my purse to walk over to the wall outlet,” Giuffria told Chron. “Another person walked up at the same time that I did to plug in their phone, which is fine.”

Giuffria asked around if there was another outlet for her to use for her arm and she was directed to the back of the room. She suspected some of the people didn’t realize her bionic arm was real, especially since SXSW is typically dominated by the latest trends in technology.

When it came time to recharge she received a funny response from some attendees.

The cyborg actress shared her awkward experience on Twitter and it quickly went viral. She also made sure to note that she wasn’t mad at anyone for not giving up their outlet.

“People’s phones are incredibly important to them these days and I thought this emphasized that,” she told Chron.

Not only did it start a conversation about how people have come to rely on their phones, but it also caused many to ask Giuffria about her prosthetic.

Her viral tweet started a conversation around prosthetics.

Giuffria was happy to answer people’s questions.

There were many who were genuinely interested in the technology.

Despite the mixup, which easily could have turned into a headline about conference goers not allowing someone with a bionic hand access to an outlet, Giuffria turned it into a teachable moment.