The fastest drummer in the world is a cyborg

An accident left this musician with one arm. Now he is helping create future tech for others with disabilities.

  • Meet the world's first bionic drummer. Rock musician Jason Barnes lost his arm in a terrible accident... and then he became the fastest drummer in the world.
  • With the help of Gil Weinberg, a Georgia Tech professor and inventor of musical robots, the pair utilized electromyography and ultrasound technology to break musical records.
  • Weinberg and Barnes hope to perfect the technology so that it can one day be used to help other people with disabilities realize that "they're not only not disabled, they're actually super-able."
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A new hydrogel might be strong enough for knee replacements

Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
  • Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
  • The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
  • The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
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Robo-boot concept promises 50% faster running

The old idea of running with springs on your feet gets a high-tech makeover.

Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash
No matter how well designed, there are no running shoes that allow runners to keep up with cyclists.
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An AI can read words in brain signals

Researchers at UCSF have trained an algorithm to parse meaning from neural activity.

Image source: ESB Professional/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • Participants' neural activity is collected as they speak 50 sentences.
  • A machine-learning algorithm develops a prediction of what the collected data means.
  • The system's accuracy varies, but the results are promising.
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    Image source: MIT
    • MIT-affiliated researchers develop a hypersensitive glove that can capture the way in which we handle objects.
    • The data captured by the glove can be "learned" by a neural net.
    • Smart tactile interaction will be invaluable when A.I.-based robots start to interact with objects — and us.
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