Being Bionic

tech-020713-002-617x416Technology. It’s the ultimate subject to have hour-long discussions about. Apparently, we as humans tend to have strong opinions about technology, and especially on what it can bring us. Some people argue that the world is becoming a better place thanks to technology, others think that it has done us, as humankind, no good. I think there’s a truth to be found on both sides of that conflict.

However, today I wanted to show the good side of technology. What it can bring us and how innovation can help us forward. There are quite a lot of examples to be found, especially when it comes to our body. ‘Body?’ you might think. Well, yes. Healthcare is one of the biggest and most important players in the technology field. Thousands of researchers commit every single day of their lives to finding a new exciting thing to improve the quality of our healthcare and bodies. Some interesting examples:

Just imagine that this man is a human being and you'll get the idea.
Just imagine that this man is a human being and you’ll get the idea.

Second Sight’s ‘bionic’ eye. A little camera on these glasses captures the scene, after which this is translated and sent to an implant on the eye. Using this, people are able to regain a bit of their sight. For a more clear explanation, you can watch this 1 minute long clip on Youtube. Thirty years ago this privilege was for Arnold Schwarzenegger only. Now, even non-Terminators can enjoy this way of regaining sight.

The 'Luke'. May the force be with you.
The ‘Luke’. May the force be with you.

Then you have this, the Luke arm, created by Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics. Apart from the name, which I found hilarious, this new bionic arm is a game changer in the field of, well, bionic arms. This one is far more advanced and has six different kind of grips, which can really help in your day to day life. Try getting on clothes, drinking or grabbing your keys all with one grip; it’s hard. It’s not yet on the mass market, but the president of Next Step says they’re trying to find a partner to make mass marketing possible.

I just hope this is used to pick up things, not people.
I just hope this is used to pick up things, not people.

Of course there are also examples to be found that aren’t exactly necessary in our day-to-day life, but are nevertheless great innovations. The photo above for example shows a so-called exoskeleton. This enhances the human body and gives it great power; helping people lifting 100 kg. This innovation could come in handy when it comes to warzones, which is where they’ve been put to use. I can also see a real future for them on construction sites. It would eliminate the use of smaller machines. Since these things are a lot easier to handle, you could prevent accidents from happening.

What I think is striking, is the emotional impact technology seems to have these days. It seems to me that there are now a lot of innovations that really improve someone’s quality of life, by simply giving them a way to live more independent or even helping them to create a closer bond with their loved ones. I think that is truly beautiful. It’s something we shouldn’t forget when discussing about technology in the future. It might seem far from being human, but it can, in fact, stir emotions in us. Don’t believe me? Please take the time to watch this little clip below. I hope, and think, you will think differently after seeing what technology has done for this woman.

 

Sources:

Hope, J. (2014). Spinal zapper helps four paralysed crash victims to move again: Pioneering treatment mimics signals that travel from the brain through spinal cord to initiate movement. Geraadpleegd op 10-5-2014, van http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2599366/Spinal-zapper-helps-four-paralysed-crash-victims-Pioneering-treatment-mimics-signals-travel-brain-spinal-cord-initiate-movement.html#ixzz3eGdr4ogp

A.P. (2014). Michigan man among first in US to receive bionic eye. Geraadpleegd op 10-5-2014, van, http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/04/23/michigan-man-among-first-in-us-to-receive-bionic-eye/

Lawler, R. (2014). FDA approves a life-like prostetic arm from the man who invented the Segway. Geraadpleegd op 10-5-2014, van http://www.engadget.com/2014/05/09/luke-bionic-arm-approved-by-fda/?ncid=rss_truncated&a_dgi=aolshare_twitter

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