At one point or another we’ve all needed an extra pair of hands. But a Japanese team has turned the metaphorical into the physical.
MetaLimbs are an extra set of hands you strap to your back and control with sensors attached to your legs. At first glance is seems like the thing you’ve always needed. Still, there are many reasons things like MetaLimbs, as designed now, probably won’t catch on.
For starters, controlling a second set of hands with your legs is kind of clumsy. And once you think about it, the uses of even one extra hand are actually rather limited. MetaLimbs is a complicated solution to a simple problem. An extra set of hands isn’t going to be as valuable as one might think. Human beings are not actually able to multitask: We just switch our attention back and forth very quickly.
Making the MetaLimbs concept commercial isn’t quite the point. The designers at the Tokyo University’s Inami Hiyama Lab and the Embodied Media Project at the Keio University are exploring how can we edit and evolve our bodies with technology. We’re already in a world where humans are biohacking their bodies. It’s just not an everyday thing. Not yet, anyway.