Mechanical Hand Keeps Drummer's Dream Alive
  • THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2014

  • Posted by: Anthony Toto

Scientific research came together with the art of music in Georgia for an inspirational tale of accomplishing a dream despite overbearing odds. Jason Barnes, a young drummer attending the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media, lost the lower part of his right arm two years ago after being electrocuted in an accident. Playing an instrument typically defined by the use of both hands, the loss came as a shocking blow for Barnes, who kept his hopes alive by working on his own prosthesis to continue playing the drums. When Barnes came into contact with Gil Weinberg of the Georgia Institute of Technology, a scientific partnership became a music miracle. Jason Barnes is now playing the drums again with a mechanical right hand. Weinberg, an engineer known for robotic music projects, collaborated with Barnes on a motorized right hand that measures the electric pulse of his bicep movement, calculates instrument algorithms, and plays to the beat of the music. If Barnes moves his bicep, the hand responds by hitting the drum. The process known as electromyography merges the world of mechanics with the human body to expand artificial intelligence and create something beyond human capabilities. According to Newscientist.com, Barnes controls the movement of his arm and could change the tightness of his grip and the speed he hits the drumkit. Did I mention his right hand could hold two drumsticks? Barnes could technically play with three drumsticks at the same time. The video below shows Barnes testing out his new hand. Even better: Barnes is scheduled to perform in concert on March 22 at the Atlanta Science Festival. Watch this video in which he tells the story of losing his arm. If you're looking for a source of inspiration, look no further than Jason Barnes for staying committed to keeping his dream alive.
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