In 2006 the first bionic arm, a robotic arm controlled by the amputee’s brain, was successfully connected to a woman, giving her a limb she could once again engage the world with. The only disadvantage of the arm was that she was still unable to feel, unable to tell that there was an arm that her mind was moving in the first place. Now, the world of robotics is changing once again.
Later this year, the first bionic hand that can feel and transmit that sense of touch to the amputee will be connected to a young man’s arm in Rome. This is an absolute breakthrough in science, signaling that the singularity is closer than we’d imagined.
The hand will be attached directly to the nervous system, making the bionic hand a true extension of the man’s body and subsequently fostering an additional troop into the global cyborg army. No kidding, there is even a foundation dedicated to turning people into cyborgs, and promotion cybernetic rights.
The new bionic hand will
allow the man to control the hand by his thoughts, as well as receiving sensory signals to his brain from the hand’s sensors. It will effectively provide a fast, bidirectional flow of information between the man’s nervous system and the prosthetic hand.
Earlier models of the bionic hand provided very limited sensation, whereas the new model provides a range of sensations to allow the amputee to recognize differences in touch.
The idea would be that it could deliver two or more sensations. You could have a pinch and receive information from three fingers, or feel movement in the hand and wrist. We have refined the interface [connecting the hand to the patient], so we hope to see much more detailed movement and control of the hand.
This is obviously only the beginning, so there is no telling what further advancements into bionics and cybernetics will bring.
No more days of hook hands and dead weight. This hand will likely one day be just as functional as a real limb with the added benefit of knowing the difference between a lover’s caress and the crushing force of a Buick parked on top of it. It might even eventually have the capability for heat seeking missiles that can be installed into the fingertips that reward the amputee with pleasure when they launch. Sounds far-fetched, but as usual, you know the military will get this first.
Will this technology, paired with an artificial nervous system, eventually be implemented into robotics, enabling our future overlords to feel the world just like us? It’s a slippery slope, that’s for sure.
For more information regarding how technology has altered and/or improved biology follow the links below.
Washington Post: First Bionic Arm
The Independent: First Bionic Hand
Wondergressive: The Singularity is Night Upon Us
Wondergressive: First True Cybernetic Tissue Created
Wondergressive: Robotic Legs Controlled by Your Brain
Wondergressive: Electronic Brain Implant Increases Intelligence
Wondergressive: Implantable Telescope Restores Vision
Wondergressive: Kid Allergic to Everything Goes to School as a Robot
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