Exploring the spaces between the physical and the digital, human and machine is Sang’s desire. He is delighted in pushing the idea of a user interface and augmented reality. His main aim is to rebuild the whole concept of reality. He aims in achieving this by removing the borders between digital data, the physical world and the human body, and turn our imaginations into a more realistic form.
Sang-won Leigh said, “What if instead of one hand on each arm, you had two?” This is what Sang-won is trying to achieve with his Robotic Symbioses wearable hand that he developed as a project for MIT’s Fluid Interfaces course.
This programmable joints interface is being called the “body integrated programmable joints interface”. It is equipped with 11 small motors which provide additional structural support and physical user interfaces. This extra machine joint is integrated to our biological body, which may as well allow us to achieve additional skills through programmatic reconfiguration of the joints.
This “extra” hand can be readjusted and reprogrammed to satisfy the different needs one may have. This device can function as one large extra finger or as an entire hand. This tool can be implemented below your wrist and clamp onto things to hold them still. In addition, it can pick up objects while leaving your actual human hand shifting freely.
What amuses me most about Leigh’s programmable joints is that this machine is separately controlled from the real hand. One can hold his hand completely still and move the robotic addition, and vice versa. Some may ask, how? This mechanism is able to sense electrical signals sent to the brachioradialis muscle in the forearm. This muscle is not used to move the actual hand, but after practicing for a few hours, you can flex and move it in different ways, therefore causing the robot hand to shift and move consequently.
This gadget can also be used as a joystick or trigger, whilst being operated with your own hand to control a computer interface or play a video game. Obviously, there are instances where people suffer from some sort of disability or constrain. But Leigh argued, that he has something else planned in mind for his human-augmentation device in order to cater everyone.
Furthermore, Leigh stated that, “A lot of people think about machine augmentation in terms of rehabilitation.” But, from his point of view this type of technology will help people overcome challenges, and at the same time turn people with normal physiology into “super humans”.