“The point of technology is to extend what we can do with our bodies, our senses, and most of all our minds”
Its only a matter of time before the human search for the holy grail of immortality moves to the religion of science, and when it does, the new wars will be man vs machine, cloning vs robotics, stem cells vs artificial intelligence, and discrimination laws of mechanical and electromechanical robots.
If you think about it, the human body is an inferior biological animal housing unit that contains a superior functioning brain. Dogs and Cats hear and smell better than we do, hawks have better eyesight, and pretty much every animal or insect is faster or stronger than us pound for pound. To put it bluntly….We suck!
However, as we mentioned, the one advantage we do have is our brains. Our brains are both a dangerous servant and a fearful master, and most of us either accept them (because they are stuck in same body) or fight them by killing them with weapons like beer.
One of the biggest questions in this chicken egg universe is “will artificial intelligence be created before we transplant a brain into a computer or will that act create the first being of artificial intelligence?
Who knows really, but its safe to say that if we aren’t replacing body parts with cloning we will be replacing them with robotics since everyone knows the cost of using parts from drifters and hobos is on the rise.
We already have robotic automation in areas like water management, military aviation, and vacuuming, and the area cyborg technology is much more advanced than most people realize. In fact, we have already have the technology to create a Borg like being, It just hasn’t happened yet because nobody wants to scare the crap out of the general populace.
Peg legs, wooden arms, hooks, glass eyes, false teeth, hearing horns, eyeglasses, wheel chairs, canes, and other synthetic replacements are being replaced with new robotic technologies every day. Exoskeletons can be used to help disabled people move around or increase the strength of human soldiers so that they can carry bigger guns and kill people easier, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. You can also expect robotics to create intelligent implants in the brain, which will “improve” our rational thought, and release nanorobots into our blood to clean our arteries.
Imagine how great life will be when we are programed to like it! (insert sarcasm emoticon here)
Here are just a few of the advancements in cyborg technology over the last few years.
Robotic USB Finger
For the Do it Yourselfer, you may want to take a page out of Jerry Jalava’s book. He lost his finger when some stupid biological Deer Like organism tried to commit suicide by running into his motorcycle. Years ago a loss of an index finger meant more than just a nose full of boogers and “issig letters wile tpig”, it also came with a feeling of permanent loss.
However in getting with the 21st century, Jerry probably remembered the words of his father who used to say “I have more knowledge in the tip of my finger than you do in your entire body” and with that, he decided to replace his missing finger with the usb flash drive seen below.
Unlike a primitive biological finger, Jerry’s usb finger isn’t integrated like some un-upgradeable computer from Dell. His usb finger can be removed and replaced with a new model or alternative tool should the need arise. However, the USB finger is more of an adaptation than a replacement since the function of the finger has changed from pointing blame to storing a collection of porn.
For a Borg like adaptation of a finger tip you need look no further than the U.S. Military who in 2008 claimed to have unlocked the secret to regrowing limbs with the use of Nano Scaffolding. (Sorry Jeremy, you were obsolete before you began)
How does it work?
Basically, a tiny scaffold of polymer fibers (100 times finer than a human hair) is attached to a patient in place of a missing organ or appendage. The scaffold then acts as a guide for human cells to rebuild themselves by weaving themselves through the tiny holes of the scaffold replacing the bone and tissue.
They have apparently already used the technology to replace a missing finger tip lost during a model airplane accident. (which seriously discredits Dr. Conners and his Gamma Radiation theories)
Look Like we wont be seeing Dr Lizard any time soon.
Rob Spence decided to fit his prosthetic eye with a video camera that includes a miniature lens and wireless transmitter. He is currently using it to create a documentary about the intersect of humanity and surveillance technology. Like the USB finger, the eyeborg is not a replacement, but more of an adaptation, since it has an entirely new function.
There is however, a prosthetic device that does allow a certain type of blindness to experience sight.
No it is not a visor.
“Sorry Mr LaForge”
Achromatopsia is a form a color blindness where you can only see black and white, However thanks to a prosthetic device known as “Eye Borg” (yes this is called eyeborg as well) Color Blind people can now have the frequency of colors converted to sound.
Neil Harbisson, (an officially recognized cyborg) is a color blind painter who can now perceive three hundred and sixty color hues through varying frequencies and adjust them with volume to help measure color saturation. As a painter, this device has not only made his life richer and deeper, but it has also allowed him to express his artistic view to world in way that has never been previously possible.
Who would have thought that robots would bring advancements in the world of art?
Bionic Knee and Foot
For those of you who are familiar with the Movie “Black Hawk Down” you may also know that the film was loosely based upon real events.
Brad Halling, a now retired ex special forces operative, lost his leg in Somolia when a rocket propelled grenade collided with his Black Hawk Helicopter. Since then he has had a few different prosthetic limbs, but none of them have been a unique as his Binonic Knee.
How does it work? The Bionic Knee receives signals to an embedded microprocessor from a transmitter strapped to the functional leg. It then learns how the person walks and transmits this information to a powerful electric motor that mimics the persons walking muscles.
The Bionic Foot works in a similar way with the robotic ankle joint recalibrating its position at 1000 times per second, but it costs 1/5th the price at $20,000 (vs $100,000)
Both area available on the market.
Non Sentient Robot Brain – Or is it?
French Researchers have been working on a concept that allows a robot to control human limbs. Sure, you could replace a defective arm with a robotic one, or, you could just attach a bunch of electrodes to your human body and let a robot brain control you like a puppet master.
The goal of the French scientists is to help people afflicted with paralysis and other disabilities regain some of their motor skills. So its supposed to be more of a robotic physio therapist rather than a robotic Geppetto
Here is an example of how a robot and human can have peaceful coexistence within the same body.
For the latest Robot and Geek toys, check out the 3 in 1 all terrain robot from Daft Gadgets.
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