API platform Open Limbs allows users to move someone else’s arm over the web using a keyboard or even an iPhone.

Graduate students in New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) have developed an open API platform that allows users to move another person’s arms remotely, using an internet connection and an iPhone.

The iPhone may control the limbs, but the program, named Open Limbs, is not as sci-fi as it sounds. In a demonstration at the ITP annual show, the creators Will Canine, Carl Jamilkowski, and Andy Sigler used ‘neuro-muscular electro-stimulation’ to send pulses to Canine’s arms, in combination with WREX, a robotic exoskeletal device used to help people with weak muscles move. The electrical pulses overtake the nervous system and  trigger muscle movement, while the WREX assists in supporting this movement. The creators hacked the device so that it could be controlled by anything, from a joystick to an iPhone.

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