A New Device Lets Someone Else Take Control of Your Muscles

If you could shoot like Steph Curry, would you?

By Alex Lauer

 
A New Device Lets Someone Else Take Control of Your Muscles
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21 June 2017

Shooting 3s like Steph Curry. Swimming like Michael Phelps. Fighting like Bruce Lee.

All singular physical feats that you and I will, most likely, never recreate.

But what if you could connect your muscles to Curry’s muscles and mimic his exact movements?

Wired Muscle is attempting to make that a reality. Developed by researchers at Japan’s University of Tsukuba and Sony Computer Science Laboratories, the system of sensors and stimulators connects the muscles of two separate people, one an initiator and the other a responder.

In the video above, you’ll see a simple yet undeniably eerie demonstration.

Wired Muscle is shown to perform faster than visually stimulated motion. As the video cites, ignition of movement based on visual stimulus requires approximately 250 milliseconds for humans. In simpler terms, our brains can’t process what we see fast enough in reactions that require super-fast reactions. WM's rig takes you brain out of the equation, and move your muscles for you, in response to a stimulus.

And thus, a scientific conundrum arises: Just because we can do this, should we do this?

The researchers offer up three compelling real-life applications: rehabilitation, athletics and impairment reproduction. Doctors could link up to patients to help them heal more quickly by producing the exact strength and movement necessary in rehab. Coaches could link up to players to promote muscle memory of certain motions (like Steph Curry’s shot). And product designers could link up to people with physical impairments to better understand their needs.

But as lead research Jun Nishida told Fast Company, there’s a potentially Imperius-Curse-like downside.

“[For] now our devices are connected by a wire, but it can be by wireless LAN,” he says. “If the communication path is hijacked by someone else, you will lose control of your body.”

Thanks, but no thanks. No one’s playing me like a marionette.

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