PossessedHand Borgs Your Hands To Teach You

The PossessedHand is a device that controls your hands using electronic stimuli. A forearm belt that applies selective stimuli to the muscles in the forearm can control 16 joints in the hand.


(PossessedHand diagram)

If a device can control human hands, the device can be useful for HCI and tangible application’s output. To aid the controlling of finger movement, we present PossessedHand, a device with a forearm belt that can teach when and which fingers should be moved. PossessedHand controls the user’s fingers by applying electrical stimulus to the muscles around the forearm. Each muscle is stimulated via 28 electrode pads. Muscles at different depths in the forearm can be selected for simulation by varying the stimulation level.

PossessedHand can automatically calibrate the system for individuals. The automatic calibration system estimates relations between each electrode pad, stimulation level and muscle movement. Experiments show that PossessedHand can control the motion of 16 joints in the hand.


(PossessedHand forces borged hand to play koto)

This reminds me of a scene from Robert Heinlein's 1940 story Waldo, in which remotely teleoperated gloves are used to teach someone how to use their hands to control a lathe:

Jenkins thrust his arms into the waldoes and waited. Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him; all three pairs, including the secondary pair mounted before the machine, came to life. Jenkins bit his lip, as if he found unpleasant the sensation of having his fingers manipulated by the gauntlets he wore.

Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.

'Feel it, my dear Alec,' Waldo advised. 'Gently, gently - the sensitive touch. Make your muscles work for you.' He then started hand movements of definite pattern...
(Read more about Heinlein's Waldo)

I was also thinking of a scene from Robert Silverberg's The Man in the Maze in which humanoids are controlled like puppets for the use of their digital appendages; if you can control fine motions of living people, who needs robots?

From PossessedHand via NewScientist.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/1/2011)

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