I’ve consistently expressed Regency’s love for advanced technology in healthcare. We dabble in technology and our patients love us for it.
So when I read about the amazing journey of those folks who didn’t allow their physical limitations to define them, it inspires me and further illustrates the cutting edge vision of our Regency Founder.
Here is the deal:
It would be pretty amazing to have three arms, right! How about going from one arm to three? At Georgia Tech, a music technology researcher, Gil Weinberg, is taking the work he’s done on robot musicians and using it to create prosthetics for amputees, including Shimon, who is an “improvising robotic marimba player!
Take Rick Allen, he is the professional drummer from the English hard rock band Def Leppard.
Rick is famous for overcoming the complete amputation of his left arm and continuing to play with the band, which has achieved worldwide success.
The prosthetic is really two arms in one. The first uses a computer to process physical inputs from the wearer as she flexes her muscles. But the second portion moves autonomously, improvising along with music. There is currently one prototype of the prosthesis that was made especially for drummer, Jason Barnes. Barnes lost his right arm below the elbow two years ago in an accident. Since he is a student at the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media, he had the resources to build himself a prosthesis, but it was limited, and he couldn’t really play the drums while wearing it, even though he could move the elbow of the device.
The Georgia Tech prosthesis is different because its sensors respond to fine differences in Barnes’ bicep muscle movements, which translate to more precise control over the drumstick. “Now I can flex and send signals to a computer that tightens or loosens the stick and controls the rebound,” said Barnes in a press release.
Since the second “arm” moves and drums on its own, Barnes has control over whether he wants to use it at a given time. Weinberg said in the press release, “Jason can pull the robotic stick away from the drum when he wants to be fully in control. Or he can allow it to play on its own and be surprised and inspired by his own arm responding to his drumming.”