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Wearable Robotic Limb Will Enable Drummers To Play With Three Arms

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a robotic arm that follows human gesture to act autonomously. Gil Weinberg, director of the Centre for Music Technology’s team has customized contemporary electronic tools to lend a hand to musicians for enhanced performance. When connected to the human shoulder, it can imitate the musician’s action.

The nimble-witted arm has two smart features that enables it to stand out among the rest. The arm can ‘listen’ to the beat and catch its tempo accordingly. Another cool aspect includes accurate prediction of the particular instrument using built in accelerometers and proximity sensors. The embedded motors function in sync with the musician arm by using the Human motion capture technology.

Masters student Tyler White and College of Architecture Professor Gil Weinberg

Inspired by an armless Atlanta drummer, the team decided to gift him new life in the form of an autonomous arm. The prosthetic arm allowed the musician to continue playing drums thereby complementing his one hand strokes. With this new technology, the drummer was not only able to regain his lost skills, but he also won the title of the fastest drummer in the world.

Their future work will emphasize on the process of linking brain activity with the robotic arm. The team stated that they had already started experimenting with an electroencephalogram (EEG) headband that detects a drummer’s brain patterns. If they succeed, simply thinking about a particular rhythm will be enough for the smart arm to play it. The research work was supported by the National Science Foundation.

Watch how the robotic limb works:

Source: Georgia Institute of Technology

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