Can a Bionic Arm Shoot
a Bow? Yes, and It’s
Beyond Awesome! Can a Bionic Arm Shoot a Bow? Yes, and It’s Beyond Awesome!

Angel Guiffria is an actress, an archer and a congenital amputee. Guiffria was born without her left hand and forearm. That hasn’t slowed her life or her acting. She has appeared in “The Hunger Games,” “The Accountant” and, most recently, “The White Rabbit Project.”

Guiffria uses technology in her robotic hand to enjoy archery. She put her archery skills on display during a Super Bowl commercial for the American Petroleum Institute. “Tonight my first big commercial aired during the #SuperBowl, and you can catch a glimpse of me doing some bionic archery,” wrote Guiffria on her Instagram account. “I’m so happy a person with differences was able to be showcased within such a huge event.”

“The White Rabbit Project” is a Netflix series that investigates science and technology in pop culture. It stars Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci and Kari Byron. You might recognize the cast from the show “Mythbusters.”

In Guiffria’s episode of “The White Rabbit Project,” she demonstrated her robotic prosthetic arm. This advanced prosthetic functions like a human hand. She can grab things, do fine-motor tasks, and shoot her bow and arrow.

bionic archer

Angel Guiffria’s bionic arm is made of a combination of flexible plastic, rubber and carbon fiber. It’s powered by lithium-ion batteries. Photo Credit: Grant Imahara

The prosthetic uses a combination of sensors and motors to control the hand. “It’s actually really easy for me to control,” Guiffria told the show’s hosts. “I have two sensors that sit on my skin. And so when I flex and extend those muscles, it allows me to open and close the hand.”

Her hand can be equipped with up to 14 grip patterns. Guiffria has a power grip, lateral grip and open precision grip. Those grip patterns provide all the functions of a human hand.

Her robotic hand can be removed and replaced with specialty attachments. One attachment lets her grip her bow. The archery attachment has a rubber ratchet strap that securely holds her bow.

bionic archer

In an episode of Netflix’s “The White Rabbit Project,” actress Angel Guiffria demonstrated her prosthetic hand by shooting a recurve bow without sights. Photo Credit: Grant Imahara

In “The White Rabbit Project,” Guiffria demonstrates her archery skills by shooting a recurve bow without sights. She uses a three-finger-under technique, which is popular with many top barebow archers. “Three-under” means placing the middle three fingers (index, middle and ring) below the arrow, which moves the arrow closer to the eye for easier sighting.

Advancements in technology keep helping more people enjoy life and archery. Guiffria is excited about the future of prosthetics.

“Muscle innovation and stuff like that is something that is being tested pretty heavily right now, and implantable electrodes are something that seems like the future,” Guiffria said in an interview with Popular Science. “But one of the main things that is picking up traction and hopefully will develop further is 3-D printing. The main issue with a lot of prosthetics right now is that they’re very, very expensive. A lot of people can’t afford them.”

Archery is a sport for everyone. Archers like Matt Stutzman, Eric Bennet and Angel Guiffria prove there are no barriers to becoming an archer. If you want to shoot archery, talk to an archery coach or visit an archery store. They’ll walk you through the process and start you on your archery journey.

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