Meet the Pilots: Bert Pot
Bert Pot is pilot for Touch Bionics in the Powered Arm Prosthesis Race.
Tell us a bit about yourself, where do you live? How old are you?
I am Bert Pot am 53 years old and am from Groningen, Holland. I am married and I have 2 children. I am very passionate about riding motorcycles; in fact I am passionate about everything that has two wheels and an engine and I enjoy woodworks. In November 2006 my life was set to change considerably as I lost my dominant (left) hand in an accident. The first thing that I thought of was whether I could ride a motorcycle again, which I find a funny thought now, looking back. It was hard for me to accept that I was now reliant on other people to fulfill simple tasks like tying my shoelaces. Shortly after my stump had healed up I was starting the process of getting a prosthesis to help me live a self-reliant life. I experimented with different prostheses and shaft systems. In December 2008 I choose the i-limbTM as my new hand. As I have learned through my experience that it is hard for people to accept a prosthesis or their fate I now try and help them to have a positive outlook on life again and improve their lives. This is a reason why I founded my website www.1-handed.com under the theme: This is not the end, it is a new start.
How / when did you first hear about the Cybathlon?
I heard about the Cybathlon during an exhibition, later a friend mentioned it to me again so I did some research on the internet about to find out more. I was delighted when Touch Bionics asked me to be part of their team.
What was your motivation to get involved?
I feel like the Cybathlon presents a personal challenge for me to push myself. I love to push the limits and I want to show everyone that everything is possible; you just have to go for it.
Which race are you competing in?
Powered Arm Prosthesis Race
How did you get involved with your technology team?
After a traumatic work accident in 2006 I had to have my left hand amputated. I had many issues finding the right prosthesis for me and did a lot research on the internet. There I found Touch Bionics. Their individual motorised fingers and especially the automated thumb was a big improvement on what I had before. In 2007 my technicians arranged for me to meet the representative at the time and after I finally received my i-limb I started to represent them as an ambassador.
Do you have a long standing relationship with them or are you new to each other?
Yes, I have been a Touch Bionics Ambassador for about six years now. I visit many exhibitions with and for them and help the staff with events around Europe, sometimes even further, and I offer to speak to new users to share my story. Recently we had a big show in Germany where I was part of the presentations. We love working with each other which is always visible to the visitors. It is a part of my life and I count myself as part of the Touch Bionics family.
How is this relationship working? Have you started training with the technology yet? How often do you see each other?
Since representing Touch Bionics I have seen them several times a year so the relationship has become very close and I feel like it is one big family. Claudia and I have now met up a couple of times and work together to improve our skills for the Cybathlon. I am looking forward to showing our potential during the Cybathlon and to showing our great teamwork - we help each other and put the team first, we feel that this will make us stronger.
What are you most looking forward to about the Cybathlon and what do you hope to get out of the experience?
I always enjoy meeting likeminded people as I feel that both parties benefit from this. You can always learn from each other and it is also good to be reminded that you are not the only one out there. I also am particularly looking forward to using the i-limb in a race for prosthetics and pushing myself to the max to claim the prize for the Touch Bionics Family.