As humans, our bodies are designed to work symmetrically. If you lose a hand, however, this symmetry is thrown off significantly, and you must either do tasks with one hand or work with a prosthetic. Unfortunately, most prosthetic limbs aren’t well-suited for computing tasks such as using a mouse.
A Berlin-based team of interaction designers aims to change that, though, with an embedded wristband that translates muscle signals into movement on a computer screen. Shortcut uses the impulses that a myoelectric prosthesis already reads in order to click a mouse, scroll through page, or other operations such as quitting an application or zooming.
We have created an interface between these signals and the digital world that opens up new possibilities. Shortcut is a digital wristband that translates phantom hand gestures and planar movements into a wireless computer control. It facilitates a quick re-entry into the profession and unrestricted digital interaction.
The group originally prototyped the device using a gaming bracelet, an Arduino, and a 3D-printed cased, but the final product will be wireless. Perhaps, as alluded in the video below, these features could be expanded into much more!
It’s a really excellent idea, and apparently, we’re not the only ones who think so. Shortcut was recently awarded the STARTS prize by Ars Electronica.