The PossessedHand system uses non-invasive electrical stimulation of muscles in the forearm to control movement of joints in the hand - helping fledgling Koto players learn faster (Photo: Emi Tamaki and Jun Rekimoto / University of Tokyo)
It's often during those early stages of learning to play a new instrument that many people give up in despair. Even though you swear that you're hitting the right notes, everything still sounds like an old gramophone recording played at the wrong speed. If only you could let someone take control of your hands to fast forward through the arduous repetition phase before muscle memory kicks in and the piece you're trying to play begins to sound more like it should. That's precisely the kind of potential offered by the PossessedHand project. Electrode-packing armbands placed on a user's forearm send electrical pulses through the muscles to take control of the movement of the hand - with fledgling Koto players testing the system having demonstrated greater accuracy and speedier progress.