Air Guitar Hero: Robotics Makes Hands-Free Application a Reality
Two researchers from famed medical research institution Johns Hopkins University teamed up to make amputation physical rehabilitation exercises more fun. How? They fitted Air Guitar Hero with sensors so amputees can play ‘air guitar’. The system works by converting the electrical impulses created by muscle contractions into signals. These signals are then fed into Air Guitar Hero to convert into game commands.
Apparently, Air Guitar Hero – which was a project the two researchers developed earlier – already uses this technology (called electromyography or EMG) but it requires extra processing for the EMG signals. The two Johns Hopkins researchers used pattern recognition technology to turn the EMG signals into input the game can use. The process involves “training” the system to recognize your EMG patterns so it can send signals to the game which then produces the sound you’re looking for. Practice truly makes perfect. As you continue to use the soft- and hardware, not only do you build dexterity and muscle tone, you improve game guitar playing accuracy. It is quite obvious that this system is open to quite a wide range of different game applications and software utility applications.
Thankfully, the researchers have outlined the complete How To instructions for this project and posted it on the pages of MAKE Volume 29. You can either build your particular version or you can use the released concepts to make your own application, it is completely up to you.