Our Spider-Senses are tingling.
A Japanese robotics company called Jizai has come up with a strange robotic limb contraption called, appropriately, Arms that can give the wearer extra sets of arms like Marvel's iconic Spider-Man villain Doctor Octopus — well, sort of.
An artfully shot promotional video shows two models demonstrating the system's capabilities by dancing to some classical music, allowing the appendages to mimic the movements of their human arms.
It's a beautiful exploration of human augmentation that takes a considerable step back from the conventional approach to developing cyborg appendages, most of which have a concrete use case in mind, like allowing those with limited mobility to make use of robotic arms.
Ana de Armas
Jizai's stated goals are quite a bit more abstract than simply having the arms pick up objects.
"The system was designed to enable social interaction between multiple wearers, such as an exchange of arm(s), and explore possible interactions between digital cyborgs in a cyborg society," reads the company's website.
The team was inspired by a 1963 short story written by Nobel Prize-winning author Yasunari Kawabata in which a girl decides to lend her suitor one of her arms for the night.
"This novel is obviously a work of fiction, yet, half a century since its writing, emerging human-machine integration technologies have begun to allow us to physically experience Kawabata’s world," the team wrote in a recently published paper about the system.
"From our role-playing sessions, we found that our bodies could precisely sense the attachment/detachment of arms, and we especially felt a strong impact when detaching or reducing the number of robotic arms worn," it continues.
In short, while we're still far away from having a mad scientist using robotic appendages to take on Spider-Man, scientists are already exploring what it means to augment the human body. And heck, we're intrigued.
More on cyborg arms: Scientists Working on Third Arm You Control Using Your Brain