It would be fair to think that somebody with a robotic arm might not be well suited to playing the piano: That’s one of the most dexterous things I can think of doing, and artificial limbs are often clunky and not terribly precise. It’s different with Johnny Matheny, though: Since losing much of his left arm to cancer, he was given a technologically amazing robotic arm thanks to Johns Hopkins University, and as he’s gotten better with it, he’s been doing some legitimate piano playing (via LaughingSquid).
Matheny controls the arm with his mind via wireless sensors, and the narrator in the video above “the most advanced robotic arm in the world.” Matheny is trying to learn how to play “Amazing Grace” on piano by the end of the year, and the footage shows that, while he still has a long way to go, he’s definitely getting there. It can’t be an easy process, but he has an optimistic outlook: “This is not a prosthetic arm: This is my arm now. We are not just a couple: We are one.”
Since the technology is still being developed, Matheny has to deal with malfunctions and other roadblocks, but of course, it’s still beneficial. Elsewhere in the video, we see clips of Matheny doing other everyday things like cooking and doing yardwork, showing that he’s able to lead a relatively normal life, or at least as normal as somebody with a technological marvel strapped to their arm can.
Just how good do you think Matheny can get at operating his robotic arm? What other things do you think Matheny should try doing with the arm? Let us know what you think in the comments?
Featured image: Quartz
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