DARPA is sponsoring a massive project with the goal of developing a prosthetic limb which closely mimics an actual, human one. In a demonstration last Friday, at the IEEE Biomedical Circuits and Systems Conference, researchers presented one of their latest tools for amputees to train themselves in the use of these advanced prostheses: a modified version of Guitar Hero.
The program, called Air Guitar Hero, functions as a sort of calibration tool for the movement of individual digits. In order for the arm to correctly read the electrical impulses which command movement, a tedious process of following commands (such as, “touch ring finger to thumb,” and “touch index finger to thumb”) over and over again must be completed. Air Guitar Hero is intended to keep patients motivated by providing them an entertaining and challenging context to perform the exercises in.
Amputees who have participated in the experiments have been able to score as high as 70 percent in songs using signals from muscles in their residual arm.
Donald Anderson was unavailable for comment.