DJ and electronic musician Bertolt Meyer has released a video detailing a project where he’s attempting to interface the electrodes that control his prosthetic arm with his modular synthesizer. In reality, he’s now generating CV with his mind.
Hacking the prosthesis
Bertolt was born without the lower half of this left arm and uses a prosthesis in his everyday life. He’s able to control the rotation and grip of the hand section via electrodes connected to muscle nerve endings in his arm. His brain activates that muscle and the hand responds – brilliant. But the hand is terrible when it comes to controlling the little knobs and sliders of modular synthesis. So he got thinking about whether there was a way to take the voltages created by the electrodes and wire those directly into a synth. After taking apart an old prosthetic he found that the voltages were too small to be useful as CV. But then he came across the KOMA Elektronik Field Kit.
In the Field Kit was a section that amplified weak voltages to make them suitable for using as CV. He got in contact with KOMA and they created a PCB for him with 2 channels of amplification. Plugged it into his arm and the thing works!
Through sending thoughts to the muscle electrodes he’s now able to generate 2 channels of CV that he can patch into anything he likes on his modular effectively creating a thought-to-CV interface. That’s amazing!
Now, Bertolt has been using the prosthetic for many years and so it’s a completely natural process to control those electrodes. It seems unlikely that anyone could simply apply electrodes to their body and take control of their modular. But for Bertolt it’s an amazingly enabling and creative way of using his disability in his music.
He calls it the SynLimb and this looks like it’s just the beginning and I imagine he could develop this technology and make available to other experimenters, body hackers and prosthetic users.
- Bertolt Meyer Soundcloud.