The Bionic Revolution

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The bionic revolution

Recently on CNN, bionics technology has been featured in the series, The Art of Movement.  What will the bionics revolution mean for everyone as the technology continues to advance?

Writing a column for CNN recently, Ramez Naam said, "We're in the midst of a bionic revolution, yet most of us don't know it." As the technology continues to advance we are indeed on the cusp of a bionics breakthrough that will not only impact amputees and the sick, but all of us.

Where prosthetics were once passive, lifeless devices designed to do little more than disguise disability, or highlight it (in the case of hooks and other devices), a new generation of bionic creations is restoring natural movement, and sometimes improving on it

When it's possible to make humans stronger, smarter, faster, and do things we have not even considered yet, how will that affect us? Will this just another pressure to compete at work? Will anyone be able to have their body, and more importantly, their brain upgraded? Or will only the rich have access to body and mind augmentation?

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Consider in the video below from the CNN series, The Art of Movement, when double amputee and prosthetics developer Hugh Herr states that he cannot only now climb mountains again with his advanced bionic legs, but that he can climb better.

Or, watch Johnny Matheney effortlessly arch and extend each finger on his bionic arm and you can't help but agree with him when he says: "The future is coming now."

Its makers describe Matheney's robotic limb as the most sophisticated of its kind in the world, recreating virtually every movement of a natural arm -- and all controlled by brain power. They promise that one day users will be able to even play piano with advanced bionic prosthetics.

The technology is working  its way into our lives more and more, starting with people with disabilities, the injured, and the sick like Cathy Hutchinson. It'll improve their lives in ways that are unquestionably good.

Festo robotic arm

Already, over 220,000 people worldwide already walk around with cochlear implants -- devices worn around the ear that turn sound waves into electrical impulses shunted directly into the auditory nerve.
Sooner than later everyone will start to realize that we are capable of doing much more  than restoring lost functions — we could enhance ourselves.

Naam is right - "Superhuman technology is on the horizon," and it is time consider what that means for all of us.

What are your thoughts?  Let us know in the comments below!

SOURCE  The Art of Movement on CNN

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