Cyborgs Used To Be Science Fiction – Now They’re Here
Along with hoverboards, cyborgs are another technological innovation that many of us were promised as kids but have yet to see materialize. It is the same case as we can now stream live shows watch online, using modern technology. https://www.holgadirect.com/
Meet The Contenders
Ok, so there aren’t literally half-robot, half-people wandering the Earth and, at the time of writing, there are no sentient or intelligent robots we have to worry about. However, we are slowly but surely building all the requisite components to make cyborgs and bionic people a reality. Creating artificial limbs and having them interface with our brains is now within our grasp. Here are the breakthroughs that really stand out.
- These antennae were designed by artist and activist Neil Harbisson. Harbisson was born without the ability to see color. His device compensated for this by converting light frequencies into vibrations. This enabled his brain to convert the information into sound, effectively enabling him to hear colors.
- The frequencies that Harbisson can “hear” with his device extend beyond the range of normal human sight. He is able to use the antenna to hear what microwaves and ultraviolet light sound like.
The LUKE Arm
- Named after Luke Skywalker, this prosthetic arm is one of the most advanced in the world. A specialized motor in the device provides dynamic feedback and resistance, which mimic the sensations experienced when handling physical objects. A user of the LUKE arm can feel the difference in the resistance that various objects have when handled and can use this to discern different objects and materials.
- Research into further developing the LUKE arm attracted the attention of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – DARPA – who helped fund the final stages of the project in 2014.
Prosthetic limbs that are capable of interfacing with our own neural networks offer an enormous amount of potential. Unlike old-fashioned prosthetic limbs, whose movements were purely mechanical, this new generation of prosthetic limbs is designed to be malleable using nothing but brainwaves. In the future, patients who have been left completely paralyzed might well be able to utilize a mind-controlled exoskeleton in order to retain their mobility.
If you were one of the kids who dreamed about cyborgs and robots when you were younger, you were probably imagining them being used for all kinds of exciting and fanciful purposes. In reality, most of the potential uses of cyborgs, if they existed, would be mundane things like treating injuries. However, this is a very good reason to learn more about electrical and computer engineering.
The fields of medicine and technology have become increasingly entwined in recent years. Doctors and surgeons are increasingly turning to technology to provide them with more effective treatment options and a higher standard of patient care. More importantly, technology can improve patients’ lives. After suffering a serious injury, modern prosthetics and exo-skeletons can not only replace lost or damaged limbs but can also ensure full functionality is maintained.
If the idea of being involved in designing the prosthetic technology of the future, a technology that makes a huge difference to people’s quality of life, appeals to you then you should consider studying for an electrical and computer engineering degree, such as this one at https://online.kettering.edu/programs/masters/electrical-computer-engineering-masters-online. Kettering’s MS in electrical and computer engineering includes a specialty in advanced mobility. Advanced mobility systems are the systems that we use to restore mobility to patients, which one day may just evolve into what we think of as cyborg technology.
Advanced mobility systems are already being deployed in the wake of natural disasters as a means of enabling rescuers to access dangerous areas relatively safely. In the immediate aftermath of earthquakes, landslides, and similar geological or climate events, there is always a concern of aftershocks. Workers who are searching through rubble to find victims are particularly vulnerable to anything that might further destabilize the structures they are working in.
Rescue crews in the future will be able to fearlessly pick through rubble following an earthquake, safe in the knowledge that their advanced exoskeleton will enable them to easily move even the heaviest chunks of rubble. Similarly, a system that could keep firefighters protected from heat and smoke for prolonged periods, without compromising mobility, would be game-changing for firefighting.
Of course, this all sidesteps the important ethical issues surrounding this kind of research. No one would question the value of designing advanced mobility systems for disabled users. However, there is an important ethical question about how much of a person can be replaced with artificial components before they become more machine than man. Cyborg technology isn’t here yet, but the precursor technology continues to impress.