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back to article Zaphod Beeblebrox style third arm cyborg prosthesis unveiled

Yet another development ripped from the pages of that great work, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, has moved a large step closer to reality this week as a professor in the US reveals a special prosthetic arm which - rather than being intended solely to replace missing limbs - could be used instead to create "a three-armed …

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Anonymous Coward

I can finally type with 2 hands!

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Bugger that!

Finally, I can pick my nose, scratch my arse and balls at the same time.

Sheer bliss like you've never known before.

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Happy

Useful

I am sure that more than one mother would find it useful.

An extra arm holding a fast moving stick, could well work wonders at bedtime!

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Mushroom

A Plutonium rock band from the Gagralaka mind zones

Didn't Disaster Area have a fully robotic drummer? Their meatsack drummer was on a beach light years away where he "had found a small rock that would be friends with him". DA's manager was relieved that the timing of the cymbalistics would be correct.

Colin

Nuke icon because that's somewhat quieter than a Disaster Area concert :-)

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Mushroom

Re: A Plutonium rock band from the Gagralaka mind zones

Didn't Disaster Area have a fully robotic drummer?

And here he is, auditioning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RBSkq-_St8

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Re: A Plutonium rock band from the Gagralaka mind zones

Listen you semi-evolved simian cymbal smasher...

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So this third arm

Would it, ummm, feel like someone else was doing it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So this third arm

Sure, but you have to sit on it for ten minutes first to make it go numb. Just like either of the two you already have.

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JDX
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We've seen prosthetics start to be developed which properly link into your nervous system for automatic control by the brain. It's known that the brain is more able to adapt when young so I wonder if you fitted extra limbs to a child, if the brain would automatically learn to use them, controlling 3 arms totally naturally?

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It's known that the brain is more able to adapt when young so I wonder if you fitted extra limbs to a child, if the brain would automatically learn to use them, controlling 3 arms totally naturally?

It's likely, yes. In fact Prof. Miguel Nicolelis' research achieved just that in simian test subjects – you'd expect his results to hold for humans.

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Agreed, seems likely, but the real question is whether the advantage of naturalistic control outweighs the loss of the advantage that @I like noodles identifies

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controlling 3 arms totally naturally?

People born with supernumerary limbs dont seem to use them much if at all. I dont know if its the HOX genes at work but the nerves need to find their control mechanism.

Having said that you dont need much control for a third limb for it to be really useful - as the first poster pointed out (perhaps) holding a book and turning the pages leaving the main hands available for typing the précis would be really useful.

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Ask General Grievous.

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Joke

Unfortunately I think the most relevant question for a 3 armed kid would be how picked on he would get at school. would probably cost more in lunch money than the arm was worth.

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Coat

Would it cost an arm and a leg?

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In case you missed the adverts

The original (and easily the best) H2G2 radio production will be repeated at 18:00 on Saturday on Radio 4 Extra, after a 30+ year hiatus as a result of copyright issues.

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Re: In case you missed the adverts

Really? I'm sure it's less than thirty years since I last heard the original on radio.

Not that I'm bothered as the whole thing sits happilly on my media server for whenever I choose to listen to it. Probably a breach of copyright, but what the heck.

Just been to the linked page where the BBC describe it as an "Adaptation of Douglas Adams's cult science fiction comedy series". Eh? Do the BBC themselves not know that Adams originally wrote it as a radio series, sometimes only seconds before the actors read the lines? Or do the BBC employ teenage old interns to write their web content?

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Pint

Re: In case you missed the adverts

Excellent news, and about time! I've enjoyed H2G2 in all its different versions (well, nearly all, maybe we can give the film a miss), but the first two radio series were the funniest - absolute comedy genius.

Friday peanuts and beer in case any wandering life forms need to hitch a lift ->

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Re: In case you missed the adverts

I got copies of the CDs of the radio series (which cost 42 pounds incidentally), and I keep exposing new generations of students to the original and best incarnation...

And not a lot of people know this, but in the 2nd series, Zaphod apparently has has 4 arms? "Hey Ford, put it there....and there...and there....and there.... (Although this is probably the result of Mark Wing-Davey ad-libbing)

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Re: In case you missed the adverts

"And not a lot of people know this,"

Well not a lot of people apart from those who've read about it in books, magazine articles, various internet sites or heard about it in interviews. Or who actually listened to the series. Since the whole second series was apparently a hallucination it never really happened.

Anyhow I'm pretty sure the line was "put it there, and there, and there and there, woah!" suggesting that maybe that last "there" wasn't referring to an arm at all...

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@Grease Monkey

AFAIK the first series hasn't been available for broadcast, because it wasn't all written by Adams (who suffered a major case of writer's block at around Fit the Fourth). Which is why the book, LP, film etc had to diverge from the original radio series at that point.

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Re: In case you missed the adverts

I remember getting a Binatone clock radio with a green GFD display and a rotary tuning dial for Christmas in 1977. I used to listen to it at night when I was supposed to be asleep. There was not a lot to interest a nine-year old boy. It was fun tuning through the bands and catching the odd police broadcast.

One night, well after my 8pm bedtime, I was tuning through the static howl of FM when I landed on something... unique. Different. Magical. It was 10.37pm give or take the accuracy of a digital clock in those days.

A burbling alien voice. "People of Earth. Your attention please..."

I was hooked.

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Re: In case you missed the adverts

Good job I already have this on cassette recorded at the time

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Re: In case you missed the adverts

@Chris Fit the Fifth and Sixth were co-written by John Lloyd since in typical BBC style it took so long to commission the series Adams was also commissioned to write and edit Dr Who by the time they got that far into H2G2 and didn't have time to give 100% to both.

AFAIK Lloyd not only had no problems with the series being broadcast, but I could be wrong. However I do doubt that Lloyd could actually prevent broadcast if he wanted to. Repeat rights are usually written into writers and performers contracts. Famously Dave Allen had a one repeat clause written into his contract. Judging by Dave's output Lloyd has never had such a clause in his contracts.

Some of the stuff Lloyd worked on was replaced in the books, according to Adams because he wanted to go it alone and see what he could come up with. Some have, perhaps uncharitably, suggested that this is because he didn't want to share the royalties with Lloyd.

The only copyright issues I have ever been aware of in the UK was not in broadcast but CD releases and online availability. One episode, possibly, fit the third featured Marvin "humming like" Pink Floyd, the Beatles and somebody else. When it came to CD/Cassette release there was a royalties issue so the scene in question was cut from that episode. Also back about ten years ago when the Tertiary Phase was ready for broadcast those lovely people at Disney kicked up a fuss claiming that they owned the copyrights for the whole thing.

As I say I'm sure the first two series were repeated on radio in the late eighties if not early nineties. I also have a vague memory of them being broadcast or at least available online around about the time the tertiary phase was broadcast. I am, however, quite probably wrong about that as I possibly just listened to my recordings again.

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Re: In case you missed the adverts

And not a lot of people know this, but in the 2nd series, Zaphod apparently has has 4 arms? "Hey Ford, put it there....and there...and there....and there.... (Although this is probably the result of Mark Wing-Davey ad-libbing)

I believe that fourth was intended to be something other than an arm...

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Re: In case you missed the adverts

"teenage old interns"

Does being an intern at the BBC really age you that fast?

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Re: In case you missed the adverts

"after a 30+ year hiatus as a result of copyright issues."

Ah, the Hotblack Desiato strategy.

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OK so it's good for drumming, but has it improved his ski-boxing?

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Unhappy

Marvin

“I’ll bet a lot of metal drummers might be jealous of what I can do now,” Barnes explains, presumably referring to the musical genre rather than rival cyborg musicians.

I've played them. They're rubbish.

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Headmaster

He's looking quite healthy...

...for someone who's been 'electrocuted'.

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Re: He's looking quite healthy...

(1) the dictionary definition is injury or death by electric shock.

(2) he might have "died" but been resuscitated.

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Re: He's looking quite healthy...

"He's looking quite healthy for someone who's been 'electrocuted'."

Sorry?

I've been electrocuted a few times and I look pretty healthy too. I've got two arms for a kick off.

Given your quotation marks I assume you think electrocuted means something other than what it really means.

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Alert

Re: He's looking quite healthy...

Well, where I'm from it means you're dead. After all, the word is a portmanteau of electricity and executed. That said, it seems that the usage is different in some places, and for some it can mean seriously injured as well as killed.

Anyway, you should be more careful!

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Re: He's looking quite healthy...

Where you're from? The 1890s?

Seriously I can't think of an English speaking country where electrocuted still only means killed. Sure when it was coined back in the 19th century it was a contraction of electric execution, but it hasn't meant just that for a very long time indeed.

Careful? It's a risk of the job.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the dictionary definition is injury or death by electric shock.

Your dictionary is wrong.

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Re: the dictionary definition is injury or death by electric shock.

You heard the guy. What is truth, man?

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Beeblebrox arms

In the original radio series, let me see, must be in the second episode, I think, but I'm working from memory, Zaphod says to Trillian that he grew his third arm "especially for you". This explains why Arthur didn't notice anything extraordinary when he met Beeblebrox some time earlier, at a party in Islington. Oh, that party. :)

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Besides...

I imagine there's a few "metal drummers" who would be envious of Rick Allen.

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Megaphone

Yes. Count 'em:

One or two. One or two or three or four.

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And to tie the threads up nicely with a slightly mangled HHGTTG quote...

"...stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of Def Leppard.'"

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zb

Huh?

Me eccentric? Never!

It is little known fact that in addition to the extra head and arm I also have a second penis

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Re: Huh?

Right in the middle of your forehead...

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Overlooking the obvious

Well, I suppose one three-armed alien is noteworthy.

I think that a whole planet full is much better though.

On the gripping hand....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moties#Moties

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Er really?

Looks like something I could whip up with all the K'nex I keep in my loft. When are Boston Dynamics going to team up with some doctors and actually get some serious results.

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