Musician Hacks His Arm Prosthesis To Plug Into His Synth

Post date:

Fri, 03/13/2020 - 07:14


Naomi Bolton

Bertolt Meyer, a musician who was born without a lower left arm posted a video on YouTube about his prosthetic arm and how he can control it via electrodes. While this is great Bertolt does mention that it has limitations, especially when it comes to manipulating synthesizers with lots of small knobs and buttons. The prosthesis simply does not have the speed and precision required for quick and accurate adjustments.

It is these limitations that inspired Bertolt to begin working on a project to create a special prosthesis that could interface directly with his synthesizers. Although Bertolt is a psychologist and not an engineer he took apart an old hand prosthesis that he had to try and figure out if something like this is even possible. His initial tests revealed that the voltages from the electrodes were way too weak, which meant he would need to design a circuit that could amplify them to a range that could be compatible with a synthesizer. Although Bertolt lacked the knowledge to do so, he realized that he had a Field Kit from Koma Elektronik that has the exact feature he needs. A quick e-mail to Koma later and they actually sent him the schematics he needed to build his first prototype. Eventually, Chrisi from Koma Elektronik became involved and actually designed the required custom circuit board in his spare time for Bertolt. Bertolt's husband, Daniel, then 3D-printed an adapter to fit the circuit into the prosthesis and then connect directly to his synths.

According to Bertolt the act of manipulating the synthesizer using the device, which he has dubbed the "SynLimb", feels exactly like he is controlling it with his mind. In the nine-minute YouTube video Bertolt can be seen demonstrating the SynLimb prototype and promises to update on the progress of this fascinating project. Check out the video below and be sure to subscribe to Bertolt to stay up to date. Also, let us know in the comments what you think about the SynLimb and the possibilities it could open up for disabled musicians.