Robots Might Perform At Live Concerts: Prosthetic on the Sticks

prosthetci arm with a brain

Robots got advanced and sophisticated in the last few decades after all, they are capable of performing various tasks with precision making our life all the more simpler. Now, Gil Weinberg Professor at Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology has designed an innovative robot that can create music of its own. The bot is not the one that just plays the music instead it has been designed to create music by first ‘carefully’ listening a song or melody and then improvise new tunes. Imagine how interesting it would to have a concert or jam session where human musicians along with such creative robot can play awesome music for the crowd. 

Weinberg got the inspiration to create such a bot when he first met Jason Barnes, who few years back has lost his right arm below the elbow in one accident. Barnes used to play drums and post accident, refused to give up his hobby. He worked towards making a prosthetic arm for himself, which can allow him to hold his drum sticks just like before. Unfortunately the Barnes deigned prosthetic arm could not match the level of control given by human wrist and fingers.

Barnes asked Weinberg is known for creating musical robots, to design and build an advanced prosthetic arm. The aim was to design a prosthetic that can be controlled in two ways: physically by the Jason’s arm and electronically by employing electromyography (EMG) sensors that can identify the electric signals generated in upper part of the arm. This would provide Jason the flexibility to adjust the grip of the prosthetic on the sticks as per the rebounds.

But this is not the end, Weinberg gave this prosthetic arm a twist and equipped it with a brain and a second arm. The second arm was powered by a motor and the algorithms in the artificial brain improvises the tune played by Jason or any other musician around and could also play along with them. The second stick is not under Jason control, however, when Jason likes to play alone, he is free to drag it away from the drum. The second arm, which is also partially robot is so designed that it can play even faster than the humans and with a more stable beat.

Revolutionizing Musical Instruments

In the future Weinberg plans to make the second hand capable to foresee what Jason wants to play by uniting the second arm with the Jason’s brain. Thus, the second arm could predict and play at the exact time. Such an arm is going to revolutionize the way we can use our musical instruments in the future. The prosthesis will soon be a star by making its debut on the March 22nd in a concert at the Atlanta Science Festival.

Weinberg believes that such robotic synchronization technology is of great help for amputees, but would be also assist fully able humans in performing complex tasks such as assisting astronauts or surgeons, which often require collaboration of robot with humans.

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