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For those without hands, there's Air Guitar Hero

DARPA project repurposes Guitar Hero to train amputees to use artificial arms

5 min read

20 November 2008—Rehabilitation specialists have taken to Nintendo’s Wii game console as a way to help motivate patients during physical therapy and rehabilitation. The latest addition to the Wii-hab phenomenon is perhaps its coolest— Air Guitar Hero . Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have made the popular Guitar Hero game into a tool for amputees who are being fitted with thenext generation of artificial arms. With a few electrodes and some very powerful algorithms, amputees can hit all the notes of Pat Benatar’s ”Hit Me With Your Best Shot” using only the electrical signals from their residual muscles.

The new research, which will be presented this Friday at the IEEE Biomedical Circuits and Systems Conference, in Baltimore, is one component of a program sponsored by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The Revolutionizing Prosthetics (RP) 2009 project, spread over 30 research institutions worldwide and led by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Md., is developing a mechanical arm that closely mimics the properties of a real limb.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
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Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford
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Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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