A new piece of technology has been developed which can be of great use to people who are aspiring to become budding musicians. A team of scientists in Japan has become successful in inventing a device that can be used to manipulate the human hand through a set of wires. It is commonly known as the Possessed Hand (Electric wrist band)for the obvious reason that the hand is controlled by it and so it is believed to be possessed.The device helps you move the right fingers at the right point of time. It was Emi Tamaki , of the University of Tokyo, who took over the responsibility of developing the device, along with Miyaki Takashi, Jun Rekimoto and a team(in conjunction with Sony Computer Science Laboratories) .
The concept behind the working of this device is quite simple. The device is worn around the wrist like a bracelet or band. There 28 electrodes in the device which when around the wrist get connected to the fore arm triggering a range of 16 joint actions. An electrical stimulus is passed via the muscles of the forearm to the fingers which controls them. While the electrical stimulus is not as strong as to move the fingers itself, is strong enough to give a hint to the user as to which finger is to moved. The magnitude of the electrical pulse passing through the fore arm muscles of the users can be controlled by the individual using it. In the entire process the brain does not get involved at all. The hand becomes an external device to the machine and allows itself to be controlled in every manner by the device.
There are other devices that do more or less the same thing but they may involve pain and inconvenience but this on the other hand is extremely comfortable and runs of quite simple a logic. Other instruments with similar effects involve wearing a glove.
Mainly aimed at helping musicians to play instruments that involve plucking, (like the guitar or the Veena) it can also be used for a couple of other purposes like helping people to learn typing, or helping people (who can hear) in communicating with the deaf through sign languages. Another very important use of this invention is that it can be used to help the paralyzed people move their hands specifically their fingers, and become normal.The victims have been reported to receive only crude signals without an invasive surgery. The musicians wear a band of three spectrums while playing an instrument and the stimulus indicates which finger is to moved. Another fact that they noticed was that it reduced the number of mistakes made by the beginners while playing the instrument.
The device has earned criticism from the community of musicians as they feel that users of this device do not actually learn anything new, left alone music. They feel that the users do not learn to play the instrument. They just move their fingers as indicated by the device. They say that while the fingers move and the brain continues to remain “passive” through the process.
Some people on whom ‘The Hand’ was tried said that the feeling of their hands moving on their own was very creepy. Some people even said that they felt that their body was being ‘hacked’. But Ms.Tamaki said that,
‘We believe convenient technology will overcome a feeling of fear’.
I agree with her. I feel that the invention is absolutely awesome. What I like the most about this invention is that it can be used to help the paralyzed. Hats off to the inventors for innovative thinking and for putting together their thoughts and materializing them. What do you think about the Possessed Hand ? Feel free to share your views on this post or any other post of mine.