If you’ve ever felt like having only two arms just isn’t enough to accomplish all your tasks, a practical solution could soon be on the horizon. Researchers from Japan’s University of Tokyo and Keio University have developed a wearable pair of extra robotic arms, easily increasing your number of limbs and hands. Dubbed the “Metalimbs” project, the arms can be on similar to a backpack, and instead of being connected to the wearer’s brain for thought control, users tell the appendages what to do with their legs.
Basically, the extra arms will copy the movements a user makes with their knees and feet. Motion sensors are attached to those parts of the legs, which in turn tell the arms what motions to make. Extend your right leg to straighten the right arm, for example, or use the fingers by adjusting your toes.
Of course, this means the robot arms are impossible to use while walking or moving around. The researchers have designed the arms to be used while seating, but they also function while standing up in one place. They’ve released the video seen here to show the basics, but the device will officially be presented at the SIGGRAPH 2017 conference in Los Angeles, starting July 31st.
While the technology is presented as something to help with multitasking, if further developed it could still be beneficial for amputees or those with similar injuries, offering them a simpler solution than an expensive prosthetic that’s connected to the brain.