Man Hacks His Prosthetic Arm To Control Music With His Thoughts


A DIY enthusiast and an electronic musician could be a deadly combination. Bertolt Meyer, who wears a prosthetic arm, hacked his artificial arm to install a DIY controller for his modular synthesizer that allows him to control music with his thoughts.

Bertolt plays DJ in his free time and his prosthetic arm often makes it difficult for him to operate the tiny knobs of the music synthesizer. To ease his life, Bertolt decided to use the electrode signals of his prosthetic arm to control the synthesizer.

He is calling his DIY device as the “SynLimb” which is basically a prototype as of now.

For those who aren’t aware, a prosthetic arm works through two electrodes that sit on the surface of the skin. These electrodes pick up the electronic signal from the muscle which is, then, passed to the arm for movement.

For his interesting DIY project, Bertolt used an old hand prosthetic and used its circuit. However, the voltage range from the prosthesis was way too weak to power the music synthesizer. To amplify the signals, he used a Koma Electronic Field Kit which is an analog audio workstation normally used for field recordings.

Bertolt also sought help from the people at Koma Electronics who helped him by offering a custom circuit board to modify his prosthesis arm.

As Bertolt describes on his YouTube channel, “The SynLimb converts the electrode signals that my prosthesis picks up from my residual limb into control voltages (CV) for controlling my modular synthesizer. The SynLimb thus allows me to plug my prosthesis directly into my synthesizer so that I can control its parameters with the signals from my body that normally control the hand.”

Bertolt is in the process of building SynLimb as he still needs to design a case to make it easier to use.

Nonetheless, this is an exceptional DIY project which, we thought, that everyone ought to know.

What are your views about it?

Anmol Sachdeva

Anmol Sachdeva

Anmol is a tech journalist who handles reportage of cybersecurity and Apple and OnePlus devices at Fossbytes. He's an ambivert who is striving hard to appease existential crisis by eating, writing, and scrolling through memes.
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