Would You Like a Third Arm?

Have you ever wished for a third arm?  How much easier would that make your life?

Believe it or not, technology is advancing to give you that wish.  Researchers in Japan recently announced they have built a device that will allow people to perform a second task with a robot arm.  The wearer of the third arm can actually think about two tasks at once, and the robot will know which of those thoughts are meant for it.  And amazingly, such multitasking might actually improve overall performance.

“Multitasking tends to reflect a general ability for switching attention. If we can make people do that using brain-machine interface, we might be able to enhance human capability,” says Shuichi Nishio, a principal researcher at Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International in Kyoto, Japan, who codeveloped the technology with colleague Christian Penaloza.

The need to develop this ability for people with disabilities is obvious, but the advantages for the rest of us aren’t as clear at this point.  Still, it would be an awesome ability to have.

To explore the details, read “Mind-Controlled Robotic Third Arm Gives New Meaning to ‘Multitasking’ ” by Emily Waltz at https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/bionics/mindcontrolled-robotic-third-arm-gives-new-meaning-to-multitasking .  The photo came from that site.


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