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Third hand

Train your brain to activate electronic controls
  (+2, -1)
(+2, -1)
  [vote for,

I R no neurophysicist, but I propose using neural training to extend virtual motor functions to run external devices.

(this idea evolved from [AJCrowley]'s Brain Remote Control, and [bungston]'s EEG Biofeedback but is a different approach)

The idea is to use the cortex's plasticity (its ability to reorganize sensory and motor control pathways after nerve or brain damage).

Bill Gates could work with a cortex trainer to develop a set of virtual fingers, and hardware/software specialists to create an interface for controlling actions with the virtual digits.

If an individual could develop five discrete new neural motor signals (virtual fingers), the range of corresponding actions could take advantage of combinations, sequences, as well as variable movement, to give infinite signal outputs.

A Bluetooth transmitter could send the output signals to receivers in Bill Gates' local environment, and he could use his brain-controlled third hand to do anything. Except fix his hair.
roby, Apr 16 2003

Kind of this http://www.newscien.../ai/helpinghand.jsp
But more complicated [roby, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Monkey brain - robot arm http://web.mit.edu/.../dec06/monkeys.html
Monkey controls robot arm with brain [TimD, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Stelarc's Third Arm http://www.stelarc....au/third/third.html
Baked, though I bet it doesn't work so well. [rmutt, Dec 12 2006]


       The operative word being "if."   

       This remote brain stuff is getting out of hand.
snarfyguy, Apr 16 2003

       I dunno. This one sounds moderately doable.
DrCurry, Apr 16 2003

       //This remote brain stuff is getting out of hand//   

       We’re working our way up to “Forbidden Planet” – (Freudian ‘monsters from the id’).
Shz, Apr 16 2003

       I like this, but the transference device should be programmable and able to interface with other devices, such as a "wireless mouse", or a machine interface in a plant.... something like that... maybe this is what you meant? I needed to come up with some practical examples though ;)
TimD, Apr 16 2003

       So on one hand, this is remotely possible,
on the other hand, it would be complicated,
and on the third hand, I've created a *_monster_*.
roby, Apr 17 2003

       So what would be the feedback to the brain during this training process to learn how to control the third hand? Visual only? Would the virtual fingers have sensors on them relaying things like pressure and temperature? The brain needs to be trained how to use its new pathways.   

       Besides, I'm sure if someone managed to send their output signals to Bill Gates' virtual fingers they would either slap his face or pick his pocket (maybe both).   

       I'm glad you didn't call this virtual fingers because that would have been too nice of a setup :)
Canuck, Apr 17 2003

       so i could flip three people off at once?
igirl, Apr 17 2003

       So how many annotations in a row start with so?
And no, the third hand isn't for obscene gestures, it's for productive pursuits, like playing music. Where do all these evil thoughts come from?
roby, Apr 18 2003

       the Evil Technology implant in my brain.
4 annos
igirl, Apr 18 2003

       [whine] So how come reensure weighs in with this valuable commentary here and not on my EEG biofeedback device? [/whine].
bungston, Apr 18 2003

       Thanks for the input [reensure]. I'm more than impressed.

To extend what I think you're saying; I wonder if one could try externalizing signals by identifying and hijacking an existing low need nerve channel for motor control (like the one that lets me wiggle my ears) for retraining as you describe, engaging some sort of pulse- activated servo, or even a representative visual/virtual display.

I guess the question is whether the signals could be tapped from the cortex via the detailed observations you describe, or more electro- mechanically further down the line. BTW, is this area your specialty?
roby, Apr 18 2003

       // And no, the third hand isn't for obscene gestures, it's for productive pursuits, like playing music. //   

       Or rubbing your third eye.
snarfyguy, Apr 19 2003

       Growing the controls for a third hand in your brain, why that’s nothing. But getting the signal out of the brain...not so easy. Kilgore Trout wrote of a hands-off space suit propulsion unit control. As I recall, it was driven by a sensor which measured the tumescence of the Space Wanderer’s penis, which tumescence was in turn controlled by an IV injection of hormones, which injection of hormones was then controlled by a chin activated lever...
pluterday, Apr 20 2003

       A godsend for one-handed websurfers
mackthefinger, Apr 20 2003

       //call this virtual fingers//
If Stevie Wonder got fitted for one of these, would his first three-handed hit song be called "Virtual Fingertips?"
krelnik, Apr 20 2003

       Nature is wise. It gave us the abilities we need to enjoy / control the world around us. I think we already manipulate it beyond what corresponds to us, so I dont know about a "third hand".
Pericles, Apr 20 2003

       (off-topic R-rated annos removed)
roby, Apr 21 2003

       Canuck, the transference device that is connected to your brain, is a stationary sytem, you know how to communicate with say, ten ports. Now a port is simply a on or off connectoin (your either raising your "arm" up or down) Then, you could program the transference device to interface with another system, and you would "know" or sense what the movements were like you know how to stick out your tounge and point your finger at the same time. So, you just declare that "up pressure" on valve 7 (of the device you are interfacing with) is port 2 & 3 on. Hope this is not utterly confusing... P.S. reensure - they have already connected electrodes to a monkeys brain and had it learn to move a robotic arm. http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/tt/2000/dec06/monkeys.html Theyve got "touch" down, once they get "feel", well be able to program our vcrs with our minds. :)
TimD, Apr 22 2003

       As handy as this would be to organists, and one man bands (and possibly percussionists) I had to vote no on this. Would you really want the creator of Windoze to mess around with your brain?? not me!
esperance, Dec 12 2006

       The actual idea is quite bakeable - yet only if the virtual hand is exercised a lot. The hands only are so much more fine-controllable because you often use them for fine motor tasks - the feet can be trained to be equally controllable, and the hands can loose that ability, if not exercised enough. so the third hand would have to have some physical/virtual representation that was available at all times.
loonquawl, Apr 09 2009

       <paperclip>"It looks like you are trying to pick your nose. Would you like some help?"</paperclip>
hippo, Apr 09 2009


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