Federico Ciccarese and his company, Youbionic, imagine a not-too-distant future where everything we see is enhanced through augmented reality, and our body’s ability to interact with the world is upgraded through augmented physicality. What does that look like? For starters, a $US2,000+ 3D-printed glove that puts two hands on the end of your arms, instead of just one.
The potential benefits to an upgrade like this are immediately obvious. Your typing speeds would double, you’d have little trouble shattering the high score on Guitar Hero, and you’d be the life of the party with a drink in all four hands. The possibilities are endless.
It’s a dream you can make a reality right now if you’re willing to spend just north of $US2,100 ($2,756) on Youbionic’s Double Hand glove, or double that if you want to upgrade both of your arms at the same time. However, there are some important caveats you’ll need to be aware of. Made from 3D-printed plastic parts that are certainly lighter than metal, the glove might not be as durable as your existing flesh and bone hands are, so scratch “winning Fight Club” off of your potential to-do list.
The robotic hands are also limited to a basic open-and-close state, which is controlled by moving two of your real fingers. So you might run into a problem when trying to do something particularly dexterous, like playing the piano, picking up tiny objects, or just pointing. It seems like the future is going to come with a lot of fine print, but thankfully we’ll also be wearing augmented reality goggles that should help us stay on top of all the unfortunate limitations of these “upgrades.”