Artificial Intelligence Dev. Series: The Skywalker Hand

Hi All, The last post ended with us getting to know our personalized “robotic musical companion” called Shimi. A masterpiece of artificial intelligence. But more importantly, it ended with the introduction of a new character by the name of Jason Barnes in the life of Gil Weinberg.

Jason Barnes, a person born to be a musician with  greatly devloped fondness for Drumming
Jason Barnes Copyright :

Jason Barnes

Born a musician, with a great fondness and passion for drumming, Jason had received his first drumming kit at age 15, but disaster struck soon. At the age of 22, he lost his one hand but being convinced that he was born to be a drummer, he tried prosthetics and other options but none of them worked to get him back on the kit. This led him to collaborate with Georgia tech.

After just finishing Shimon, the introduction of Jason unexpectedly pushed Gil beyond enhancing robots to augmenting humans…

The Legendary Skywalker Hand inspired from Luke Skywalker in context with Star Wars, generated by an artificial intelligence!!

The Legendary Skywalker Hand inspired by Luke Skywalker in context with Star Wars!!!

The Origin

Thus came into being The Skywalker Hand. Truly inspired by Luke Skywalker from Star Wars. This uncommon piece of tech brought what was once a realm of sci-fi, a mile closer to our galaxy. Currently, most prosthetic hands can’t even thumbs up or give you a hi-fi. All they can function is either open or grip with all five fingers at once; but the problem was not in the creation, it was in its foundation.

These prosthetic limbs work on EMG technology which stands for Electromyography. Don’t know what that is…right? I felt the same way when I first heard about it. But don’t worry, I have explained it in a very detailed manner…

So essentially, this means that these limbs have two sensors. One at the end of the residual limb picks up signals as the wearer flexes his muscles and carries these making the wrist and fingers move. Nothing in problem with this functioning is what anyone would think. But Gil counterargued…

The How?

He felt that the problem lay in the fact that the electrical signals picked up are very vague ranging from zero to 100%. Thus to overcome this probable dysfunctionality, Gil introduced something that is very common knowledge in recent ages. He introduced Ultra-Sound technology in prosthetics…

Gil Weinberg and Jason Barnes developing The Skywalker Hand's artificial intelligence.
Gil Weinberg and Jason Barnes working on The Skywalker Hand Copyright 2014 Georgia Institute of Technology

So, ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to capture live images from inside the body, just like in Echo-cardiography. This means that as Jason flexes his muscles to move his imaginary fingers, these images are captured by ultrasound making clear his intention. Then, just use artificial intelligence, make it predict patterns and you have a fully functioning human hand, albeit you have to give it time to move. But a man with missing five fingers would readily give away time to have them back.


So this was Gil Weinberg for you, a musician turned A.I. developer. Coming from a non-engineering background, his visions about bots would be quite distinct and unpredictable compared to someone who was trained to do this. Like, Iron Man (R.I.P), a billionaire in his own right, creating A.I. with a unique mind that would be unpredictable and incomprehensible for even those close to him…

In case you missed him in the last post, this is Gil Weinberg, the person who is altering the face of music the way we see it… using nothing but artificial intelligence!!!

Gil Weinberg, a professor in Georgia Tech, where he leads the Robotic Musicianship group to develop artificial intelligence.
Gil Weinberg, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Music and the founding director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, where he leads the Robotic Musicianship group.

Click here in case you missed the last post where we talk about an automated marimba-playing robot called “Shimon”.

Also about another one of his creations which just happens to be anyone’s best musical companion, albeit a robot. Click here to read more about this…

Hope to see you soon…Bye!!!

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6 thoughts on “Artificial Intelligence Dev. Series: The Skywalker Hand”

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