The force is strong with this one – or at least, it is strong in his bionic arm.
Jason Barnes has not been able to efficiently play a piano since he lost his right arm five years ago.
Thanks to a new kind of Star Wars-inspired technology, however, he was recently able to pluck out a few tunes at Georgia Institute of Technology.
The bionic arm, which was modeled after Luke Skywalker’s hand in Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back, used ultrasound technology to analyze contracting muscles in a person’s remaining limb and guess which finger they are trying to move – even if they don’t have fingers.
Almost all of the prosthetic arms on the market currently use sensors that simply switch between basic modes of use, such as flexing and contracting. The ultrasound technology, on the other hand, gives amputees a new kind of dexterity that has never before been made available.
Gil Weinberg, the Georgia Tech College of Design professor who lead the project, said: “If this type of arm can work on music, something as subtle and expressive as playing the piano, this technology can also be used for many other types of fine motor activities such as bathing, grooming and feeding.
“I also envision able-bodied persons being able to remotely control robotic arms and hands by simply moving their fingers,” he added.
“It’s completely mind-blowing,” said Barnes. “This new arm allows me to do whatever grip I want, on the fly, without changing modes or pressing a button. I never thought we’d be able to do this.”
(WATCH the video below)
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