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You can help a cyborg drummer get a new, improved robot arm so he can tour

Jason Barnes - Kickstarter Campaign

When it comes to robot technology that has the ability to genuinely change people’s lives, it’s difficult to think of anything more transformative than cutting-edge prosthetic limbs. These prostheses can allow their wearer to carry out activities that once appeared to be impossible. Case in point is drummer Jason Barnes.

Barnes lost his hand in an accident six years ago, leaving him devastated, depressed, and thinking he would never again be able to play music. Thanks to researchers at Georgia Tech, however, he was been kitted out with a robotic arm prototype that lets him play faster and better than ever.

As much a part of Barnes’ identity as his cyborg arm might be, it still belongs to Georgia Tech. It is also a heavy and complicated research platform that requires two computers and a technical team to operate. Both of these factors limit Jason’s ability to travel freely with the cyborg arm — and has precluded much in the way of musical touring.

But things could change with a new Kickstarter campaign. The project aims to raise $90,000 to cover the production costs of a new arm, as well as expenses associated with organizing concerts and making recordings to showcase Barnes in action.

“This project is so exciting for us because, for the first time since his injury, Jason has a real chance at becoming the touring musician he has always wanted to be, owning his arm, and making a living from his music,” Gil Weinberg, founder/professor of Georgia Tech’s School of Music, told Digital Trends.

People pledging money for the campaign can get hold of music videos, concert tickets, and merchandise. Weinberg continued: “We know that these kind of rewards are usually offered by musicians working on new albums, and that our project looks and feels as if it belongs to the technology category on Kickstarter. But we hope backers will understand the unique interdisciplinary aspect of our project, and that we will have enough of them backing the project, helping us reach our goal.”

As ever, we have to issue our warning about the potential risks of pledging money to crowdfunding campaigns. Nonetheless, this looks like a great project to get involved with — and we absolutely wish Jason Barnes every good fortune in realizing his dream.

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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