Feeds

Zaphod Beeblebrox style third arm cyborg prosthesis unveiled

'A lot of metal drummers would be jealous of me' says first recipient

Boost IT visibility and business value

Yet another development ripped from the pages of that great work, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, has moved a large step closer to reality this week as a professor in the US reveals a special prosthetic arm which - rather than being intended solely to replace missing limbs - could be used instead to create "a three-armed cyborg".

Most Reg readers will of course recall that one of the main characters in the Guide stories - eccentric Betelgeusean ex-Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox - had a third arm* (and also a second head).

Now mere Earthlings, should they choose to, could emulate Beeblebrox on the matter of limbs. Step forward Professor Gil Weinberg of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The good prof, we learn from a Georgia Tech announcement, has created a highly unusual robotic prosthesis for drummer Jason Barnes, replacing an arm which he lost when he "was electrocuted two years ago". Barnes' new arm is fitted with not one but two drumsticks, one of which is controlled by his nerve impulses and one of which, according to the prof, "has a mind of its own".

“Jason can pull the robotic stick away from the drum when he wants to be fully in control,” explains Weinberg. “Or he can allow it to play on its own and be surprised and inspired by his own arm responding to his drumming.”

Apparently the robo-drummer tech is actually superior to a human. We are told:

Because an embedded chip can control the speed of the drumsticks, the prosthesis can be programmed to play two sticks at a different rhythm. It can also move the sticks faster than humanly possible.

“I’ll bet a lot of metal drummers might be jealous of what I can do now,” Barnes explains, presumably referring to the musical genre rather than rival cyborg musicians.

“Speed is good," he adds. "Faster is always better.”

So much is already very impressive, but then the prof goes on to explain his ambitions to create not only a different and better drummer, but a human-machine cyborg superior to unaugmented meatsacks:

Weinberg says such robotic synchronization technology could potentially be used in the future by fully abled humans to control an embedded, mechanical third arm during time-sensitive operations. For example, Weinberg’s anticipation algorithms could be used to help astronauts or surgeons perform complex, physical tasks in synchronization with robotic devices.

Or to improve one's ski-boxing, perhaps. It would seem that embattled multitaskers eveywhere wishing for an extra arm may soon be able to have just that.

Read all about it from the Georgia Institute of Technology here. ®

Bootnote

*It isn't made clear in the H2G2 works just how Zaphod acquired his extra limb - it is described variously as having been "grown" or "fitted".

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE
But they'd lose a deathmatch against the coming Humvee-sized, armoured Arctic ones
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company
Ten points of stuff out of a five pound bag
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?