Hand prosthesis with sensitive fingertips

This is the first device of its kind that sends signals back to the brain, allowing the user to have feelings in their fingers and hand. The Smart Hand takes advantage of the phantom limb syndrome which is the sensation amputees have that their missing body part is still attached… By connecting sensors in the hand to the nerve endings in the stump of the arm, patients can feel and control the Smart Hand.

The test patient underwent a complicated, experimental surgical procedure to wire the nerve endings in his stump to an electronic interface. His personal risk will advance science and potentially help millions of people. Thank you, Robin Af Ekenstam.

In the next version I hope they make the Smart Hand’s fingertips get a little bit more sensitive after you clip its fingernails.

(via Engadget)

Incredible speaking piano

A composer named Peter Ablinger has created a jaw dropping sound art piece. He recorded a speech read by a child, analyzed the recording to extract its frequency content, and then mapped it to pitches on an acoustic player piano. My reaction was identical to the one described in the interview: what at first sounds like nonsense comes into perfect focus when you begin reading the text along to the sound. The flip from unintelligibility to clarity is a thrilling experience. Beautiful, beautiful work!

Touch the paintings in the Met

Hoping to boost attendance and broaden its base of supporters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art launched a new initiative this week that allows patrons, for the first time ever, to prod and scratch at the classic paintings in its revered collection.

“You can’t grasp the brilliance of a great painting just by looking at it… To truly appreciate fine art, you need to be able to run your fingers over its surface and explore its range of textures.”

The new policy has been so popular that on Monday the Met began extending tactile privileges beyond its paintings. Patrons are now invited to climb inside ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, whether to take a souvenir photo or just carve a message into a 2,500-year-old sacred coffin.

Some, however, remained unimpressed.

“I touched a crapload of Jasper Johns’ paintings,” said Mark Bennet, 67. “I just don’t get why they’re supposed to be so special. They feel like any regular old painting.”

Stop crying and cursing! It’s an Onion article.