Sunday, April 1, 2012

I'm getting a bionic hand

I've been keeping this a big secret because it's fairly awesome. I research in artificial intelligence and robotics and have had a research project in development for a while now. It involves replacing my right hand with a robotic bionic hand. Needless to say I've had quite a mission getting this past Auckland University's Human Participants Ethics Committee. They were totally against it for months, but eventually realized that the only way I could develop the capabilities of the robotic hand and its neuro-computing control link was by replacing my own hand, given that I couldn't find any other willing volunteer locally.
   The hand is quite advanced and initially will be controlled by an Emotiv Epoc headset. The plan is to replace the headset with smaller and more discrete sensors on my forearm and to test case-based reasoning software that will enable the hand to learn how to move more precisely. To the right is an X-ray of my right hand and wrist, which was taken today and which my surgeon will be using for the amputation tomorrow. This research will be the first of its kind in New Zealand and is being conducted in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Needless to say my wife is not very happy with my decision.
   More information about the project is available here.