Did you know the fastest drummer inthe world is a one arm bionic drummer? Jason Barnes is the world's first bionicdrummer. His fingers on one hand are robotic, and he controls them with onlyhis mind. Music means everything to Jason Barnes, and he will do anything to beable to play a tune. So, doctors, engineers, and graduate students are steppingin to create special sensors, which will help Jason gain back fine motorcontrol and be able to do more than even a human arm can do. The objective ofthis experiment is to "close the gap between man and machine."
About Jason Barnes
Jason Barnes has been a musiciansince he was a young child, and drums are his favorite selection of instrumentto play. While growing up he enjoyed watching his father play the guitar, andthat is when his passion for music developed. When he was 22 years of age,there was an electrical accident at work that involved Jason. A transformerblew up and shocked him with over 22,000 volts of electricity. This accidentleft him with severe burns on one of his arms. Therefore, the decision was madeto sever his arm. When the amputation was over, he felt hopeless in being amusician with only one arm; he did not think it would be possible to ever be a one arm drummer.
His new beginning
Now, he sees it as a new beginningand has made history. He decided one day to just go for it and began drummingagain. Instead of seeing the negative, we should strive to accept the realityand make it into something positive like Jason did. In addition to his positivethinking, he created his own home-made prosthetic to play the drums. Hismotivation to play music is admirable, and he made his custom prosthetic piecework for him. Eventually, he found out about a robotic musician that listens,responds, and improvises in real-time. It functions exactly like a humanplaying an instrument. Gil Weinberg is the creator of the robotic musician andwas instantly interested in creating Jason a robotic arm the minute he heardabout him.
Jason can do 40 drum hits persecond, which would not be achievable for any human being, even a high-speeddrummer. Also, this is how many hits he does with one arm, while most fastdrummers can only do 20 hits per second while using both arms. This isimpressive, but the doctors and engineers chose to join Gil Weinberg and gofurther in seeking a way for Jason to control the robot arm with his mind.
The FirstTechnology that Gil Weinberg Tried
The first technology that GilWeinberg tried was Electromyography (EMG). EMG functions by reading the electrical signals fromthe muscles moving in Jason's arm, but the signals must first begin in hisbrain. With the EMG, he could do several simple movements with his arm just bythinking about them. This left Jason feeling ecstatic and amazed by what heaccomplished just by using his mind.
An Even BetterTechnology
The doctors and engineers desired tofind a way to give Jason more control, which would require a stronger signalfrom his arm muscles to the robotic arm. Ultrasound technology was the answerto helping the sensors notice the signals from Jason's brain more clearly. Toimagine being able to use our mind to move all five fingers on a robotic arm isawe-inspiring and "breathtaking," like Jason Barnes stated.
The impeccable ultrasound technologygave Jason back everything he had lost from his accident years ago. This willhelp many other people who have amputated body parts regain their usage again.So, Jason not only has become the world's fastest drummer but also is helpingcreate the best technology devices for amputees. Jason took a negativeexperience and turned it into something more positive. He plans to helpcontinue research to develop better technology and give people withdisabilities a voice and access to more technology and robotics like this. Bydoing so, he will help the population with amputations to see that they can usetheir limbs even better than they were able to before.