Augmenting our bodies with technology

Check out this video for a sign of things to come.  It shows a man who lost his hand 25 years ago getting fitted with an amazingly sophisticated prosthetic hand.  You can see the sensitivity of the control when he picks up a plastic cup without dropping it.  The most incredible piece though was the way he plugs the stump of his arm into the limb on 46s – it clips on in the same way as a blade in a kitchen mixer.

These prosthetics are still expensive ($50-70k) and the first use cases are understandably replacing lost limbs, but before long the price will come down dramatically and the use cases will expand to adding tools to our body we simply haven’t had before.

As an example three of Prof Kevin Warwick students at the University of Reading have implanted magnets into their fingertips which allows them to fit sensors around their fingers which make the magnet vibrate in response to unltrasonic or infrared sensors.  Simply put, their brains can then ‘feel’ the distance or heat of objects.  Youtube video here, look about 4mins in.  

Enhanced by Zemanta