Man Masters Disability With New Technology

Wednesday, December 17th 2008, 4:50 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- Almost 30 years ago, Billy Robbins of Broken Arrow lost both hands in an electrical accident. Over the years he has mastered most tasks using his prosthetic hands.

A kitchen renovation project made life more difficult again until, the Kitchen Aid engineers came up with a solution.

Robbins was working for Southwestern Bell back in 1980 and bumped up against an electrical line.

"7,200 volts...should have killed me," said Billy Robbins, Kitchen Aid Customer.

It didn't, but he lost both hands above the wrist. He's had prosthetics for almost 30 years.

"It's things like buttons, tying your tie, light bulbs are always a challenge and mini blinds," said Robbins.

He has mastered most obstacles over the years, then he and his wife decided to install new appliances in the kitchen.

Many of the newer models have no buttons or dials, instead they have touch screens, which work very well for most of us. A simple touch of a finger is all it takes.

But, Billy's prosthetic wouldn't make it work. So, he contacted Sedrick Zelsnack, the Maytag store manager, and he called the factory representative.

"He called back and said Kitchen Aid has something that will work," said Sedrick Zelsnack, Maytag store manager.

What they sent was a modification of the same device they use at the factory to permit their robots to test the touch panels.

"I don't know how it works. I don't know what makes it work. I don't care what makes it work. It makes my life easier, so it's worth a million dollars to me," said Robbins.

He's not only mastered the rigors of his disability, with the help of some engineers at Kitchen Aid, he's mastered modern technology as well.

Billy Robbins is a motivational speaker and has a website.