This is taking wearable tech to a new level.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, led by Prof. Gil Weinberg, have developed a robotic “smart arm” that gives drummers an extra limb.
According to a university press release, the arm attaches to a musician’s shoulder and responds to human gestures and to the music being played.
The arm can adjust to the drummer’s beat and will move to an accompanying drum or cymbal as the drummer shifts their position.
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The arm is fitted with accelerometers and motors to ensure that the drumstick it holds is always parallel to the playing surface.
“The third arm provides a much richer and more creative experience, allowing the human to play many drums simultaneously with virtuosity and sophistication that are not otherwise possible,” said Weinberg.
The idea for this “smart arm” came after the team created a robotic prosthesis in 2014 for a drummer who is an amputee.
According to the university, the researchers are now working on linking the robotic arm to a drummer’s brain activity, so that it can detect the musician’s thoughts.
Weinberg says he hopes this technology will advance far enough to become applicable in many fields.
“Imagine if doctors could use a third arm to bring them tools, supplies or even participate in surgeries,” he said. “Music is based on very timely, precise movements. It’s the perfect medium to try this concept of human augmentation and a third arm.”
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