One day, while scrolling through the internet, I came across a video that stopped me in my tracks. It was about a man with no arms who had undergone surgery to move nerves into his pectoral muscles. This transformation enabled him to control two prosthetic limbs. But there was a catch – he couldn’t take these arms home. Why? Because the technology and code that powered them were proprietary. This man was denied the freedom to fully embrace these life-altering tools because of a man-made barrier. The story was not just sad; it was infuriating.
This experience became the spark that ignited the creation of Open Muscle. I saw the potential of machine learning and believed that it could provide a solution. I had an idea: a matrix of pressure sensors sampling forearm muscle movements and using a force detection labeling system to measure finger movements. In theory, AI or machine learning could predict the finger movements based on the pressure sensors’ data.
It was an ambitious plan, but I was ready to face the challenges head-on. The journey was not without its difficulties. For instance, finding the right springs for the pressure sensors was a task that felt like an endless Goldilocks conundrum. After much trial and error, the solution came in the form of a larger pressure pad, which allowed us to use firmer springs.
Another challenge was designing a system that could be adjusted and upgraded if needed. The solution was a radial design, which captured sufficient data from the muscles and was a perfect fit for machine learning.
Open Muscle isn’t just about technology; it’s about democratizing access to assistive technologies. In the face of proprietary systems that keep these technologies out of reach for those who need them most, I wanted to create an open-source system. A system that anyone could access, modify, and improve. I believe in the power of collaboration and sharing knowledge. I believe in the magic of open hardware.
Open Muscle is a testament to the power of perseverance and the human spirit. It’s a beacon of hope for those seeking freedom through assistive technology.
This journey is far from over. With each step, we move closer to a world where technology empowers everyone, not just a select few. We invite you to join us in this mission. Let’s build a future where no one is denied access to the tools they need because of proprietary barriers. Let’s democratize assistive technology together.
Hackaday.com and Open Muscle: A Journey Together
It’s been an exciting journey for Open Muscle, and we’re incredibly grateful that Hackaday.com has been a part of it. Our project has been featured in not just one, but three articles on Hackaday.com, a testament to the potential impact of Open Muscle. We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to Hackaday.com for their support and for helping us spread the word about our mission.
This week is particularly thrilling as we eagerly await the results from the Assistive Tech contest on Hackaday.com. As we hold our breath in anticipation, we want to take a moment to express our gratitude for the platform that Hackaday.com provides for projects like ours. Regardless of the outcome, we’re eternally thankful for the opportunity to share our work with a wider audience and for the chance to be a part of such an inspiring community.
Stay tuned for the results and for the next steps on our journey to democratize assistive technology!