Robotic Prosthesis Helps Armless Drummer Return to Playing

artist: Misc date: 03/10/2014 category: general music news
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Robotic Prosthesis Helps Armless Drummer Return to Playing
An amazing new piece of technology has allowed an armless drummer to play again by basically turning him into a cyborg.

The robotic prothesis comes as an invention of Georgia Tech professor Gil Weinberg and has the ability to react to muscle movement coming from the musician's arm. As the professor himself noted, "the drummer essentially becomes a cyborg."

Drummer Jason Barnes, who had lost his arm below the elbow after being electrocuted two years ago, was given a chance to test the invention. As the clip below shows, the results are nothing short of stunning.

Adding to our basic abilities, the cyborg arm can manipulate two sticks, turning its user into a three-armed drummer. According to Weinberg, the second stick has "a mind of its own" and simply "listens" to the music the drummer is playing and improvises.

"It's interesting to see him playing and improvising with part of his arm that he doesn't totally control," the professor noted. "If we are able to use machine learning from Jason's muscles (and in future steps, from his brain activity) to determine when he intends to drum and have the stick hit at that moment, both arms can be synchronized."

Clearly impressed by the achievement, Barnes added, "I'll bet a lot of metal drummers might be jealous of what I can do now. Speed is good. Faster is always better."

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