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Hardware Hacking

Controlling Games and Apps Through Muscle Sensors 47

A team with members from Microsoft, the University of Toronto, and the University of Washington have developed an interface that uses electrodes to monitor muscle signals and translate those into commands or button presses, allowing a user to bypass a physical input device and even control a game or application while their hands are full. The video demonstration shows somebody playing Guitar Hero by making strumming motions and tapping his fingers together, a jogger changing his music without having to touch the device, and a man flexing a muscle to open the trunk of his car while he carries objects in both hands. The academic paper (PDF) is available online.

Huge Leap Forward In Robotic Limb Replacement 153

BlueshiftVFX sends us to Wired for some video of the impressive, mind-controlled prosthetic robot arm invented by Dean Kamen. "Kamen's arm, dubbed 'Luke' (after Skywalker, I assume), is an incredibly sophisticated bit of engineering that's lightyears ahead of the clamping 'claws' that many amputees are forced to use today. The arm is fully articulated, giving the user the same degrees of movement as a natural arm, and is sensitive enough to pick up a piece of paper, a wineglass, or even a grape without mishap."

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten