These days, its just as easy to play an instrument by not playing an instrument. With the popularity of Guitar Hero and countless music making apps for the iPad, modern technology has provided us with the existential achievement of "being a musician" by "not a being a musician."
Learning to play a real guitar? Who has time for that? Better to just strap a couple dozen electrodes to your arm and have them zap your finger muscles into forming the right chords.
Developed jointly by the University of Tokyo and Sony Computer Science Laboratories, the PossessedHand does just that. Around their forearm, users wear a belt containing 28 electrodes that stimulate muscles to flex the joints between the three bones of each finger and the two bones of the thumb. As well, the device also provides two wrist movements.
According the New Scientist, lead researcher Emi Tamaki said,"The user's fingers are controlled without the user's mind."
PossessedHand improves upon previously finger-stimulating devices that used electrodes embedded in the skin or cumbersome glove-like devices that made it difficult to play instruments. Tamaki said her new device is far more comfortable.
"The electric stimulations are similar to low-frequency massage stimulations that are commonly used," she said.
Understandably, some users found the device's ability to 'possess' their hand somewhat unnerving.
"I felt like my body was hacked," said one subject.
However, Tamaki is confident that people will warm up to the idea once they see how useful it can be.
"We believe convenient technology will overcome a feeling of fear," she said.
[Via New Scientist]
Credit: Interfaculty Initiative in information Studies/University of Tokyo