It’s always amazing to watch what a talented drummer can do on a kit. The speed, the precision, the rhythm – it’s not just banging around on some drums. This is raw talent. Now imagine what they could do with a third arm. It would be madness!
Well, this is exactly what a team of researchers at Georgia Tech is trying to accomplish – a “third arm” that is supposed to help you out while sitting at the drum kit. This all stemmed from an earlier project from 2014 to create a robotic arm for a drummer named Jason Barnes, who had lost his own arm after being electrocuted. Now they want to adapt it for users who want to test the possibilities of having a third drumstick at the kit.
The genius part of this device is that, when attached to the drummer’s shoulder, it can figure out where all the components are and how far they are from the player’s arms. It uses built-in accelerometers to achieve this as well as motion capture technology to ensure that the drumming is natural. It also uses the sounds from the room to play beats that conform to the drummer’s speed and rhythm.
But they’re not stopping here. Next, the researchers want to make the robotic arm controllable by the player’s thoughts, developing an EEG headband to effectively read the drummer’s mind. This is all very much in progress right now, with the additional goal of someday adapting this technology for other professional uses, like medical or engineering fields.
In the meantime, prepare yourself to witness drum solos that are going to knock your socks off.