Aimee Copeland smiles as she leaves a hospital in Augusta, Ga., on July 2.(Photo: Andy Copeland via AP)
(USA TODAY) -- A Georgia woman who lost both her hands and legs to a flesh-eating bacteria this past summer has been outfitted with prosthetic hands.
And Aimee Copeland of Snellville, Ga., is learning to use them here at Touch Bionics in suburban Columbus, Ohio.
"It feels amazing," said Copeland, the first woman in the world with bilateral upper limb amputations to be fitted with the all new iLimb ultra revolution prosthetic hands. "The other (artificial) arms I had didn't feel like an extension of my body."
Copeland, now 25, developed a rare condition called necrotizing fasciitis after cutting her leg May 1, 2012, in a fall from a homemade zip line over the Lower Tallapoosa River. At one point, the University of West Georgia graduate student was on a ventilator battling kidney failure and other organ damage. Doctors had to amputate her limbs in several operations because of the progression of infection.
Now, on her own, she can wipe down tables, fold a towel, hang clothes, even flat iron her hair.
Aimee Copeland, 25, of Snellville, Ga., shows off the new bionic hand she's learning to use after losing her hands and legs to a flesh-eating bacteria in 2012.
"These hands are going to allow Aimee to do more than any other hands that are current available in the world," said Robert Kistenberg, coordinator of prosthetics for the master's program in prosthetics and orthotics at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. He's working with Copeland through the process of relearning to do simple tasks.
The hands, which Copeland controls with her muscles, cost about $100,000 each. They also can be controlled through an iPhone/iPod app, he said.
Copeland is receiving the hands for free because she will become a spokeswoman for Touch Bionics, the company told NBC's Today show.
She already has resumed her studies for a master's in humanistic psychology.
"I really want to start cooking," Copeland said. "So I really want to be able to maybe make myself a yummy veggie pie or something for myself when I get home, maybe knit a hat or something." She is expected to return home Friday.
And in her future, she envisions maybe a dinner party for 20, so she can cook for the friends who have supported her since she contracted her life-changing infection.