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COULD WE GET ROBOTIC BODIES?! PROSTHETICS, AUGS, AND EXOSKELETONS

COULD WE GET ROBOTIC BODIES?! PROSTHETICS, AUGS, AND EXOSKELETONS
should we trade away our aging

bodies

for mechanical

bodies

that

could

last forever what if we eventually have augmented replacements not just for our organs but for our very limbs as well this is the idea of prosthetic augmentation where we gradually replace our extremities with functionally equivalent devices that can be regularly maintained and repaired

prosthetics

have always been seen as a key aspect of transhumanist ideology longing for the day where we can overcome our birth defects
could we get robotic bodies prosthetics augs and exoskeletons
injuries disabilities or the wear and tear of aging on our

bodies

so what actually our

prosthetics

in short prosthesis refers to a device either external or implanted that substitutes or supplements a missing or defective part of the body the go-to example being say two fillings a hook or a wooden peg leg that you'd see on a pirate but today's carbon fiber silicon and titanium

prosthetics

go much further and can now be made to look almost indistinguishable from the real thing
additionally they can also move and perform the same functions that a normal limb would as well as additional functions that a natural limb

could

never do it's not a stretch to imagine this tech eventually being used for body enhancement not just as replacement this can be a very subversive idea when will we get to a point where athletes beg to have voluntary amputations to make them better at their respective sport when will we upgrade our inferior limbs into full-on Bionic enhancements
such as those found in say the day sex video game series well recently video game company Square Enix collaborated with

prosthetics

company open bionics to design to day sex inspired prosthetic arms that anyone with a 3d printer can make for free one of the devices is called the Adam Jensen arm based on the hero of the games mankind divided and human revolution these two arms have fully functional flexing fingers and even a rotating wrist giving amputees are more renewed an optimistic outlook on
their condition while these arms are great for aesthetic reasons and do all sorts of cool things that are natural arms can't they don't actually help amputees with their daily lives as much as we wish they would in fact most

prosthetics

around the world are known as body control

prosthetics

operating through a kind of pulley system or mechanical switches to perform their functions they aren't controlled by the brain and the users still experience great difficulty in performing their
daily tasks body controlled

prosthetics

have trouble moving autonomously as a real human arm would but how close are we to making one that can through modern technology we've begun to see the emergence of interface controlled

prosthetics

which are literally linked to critical neurons my electrically controlled

prosthetics

directly integrated within the neuromuscular system through TMR and lastly am i controlled

prosthetics

using electric cortical graphic electrodes to give us actual
proprioception for these limbs potentially paving the way for full-on prosthetic

exoskeletons

to eradicate disability first we have the idea of interface controlled

prosthetics

giving the user more control by linking their devices to a handful of neurons Dean Kaman inventor of the Segway has taken

prosthetics

to the next level creating a pre-programmed functional prosthetic interface called the luke arm with approximately 185,000 amputations occurring each year and over 2 million people
suffering from limb loss Kaman wanted to make a change by programming these arms with actual neural data thanks to funding from DARPA Kaman and the deca Research Corporation introduced the lookk arm into the public sphere ingeniously naming it after Luke Skywalker's prosthesis in the Star Wars franchise as an act of clever marketing to make the arm the team had to map each of the 192 electrodes to the participants nervous system so that each sensation corresponds with a real stimulus meaning
that if pressure is applied to a specific area like the tip of the thumb then the participant actually feels the pressure on their prosthetic this gives the wearer more control of their limb unfortunately though it still doesn't work like a real hand while the neural data has allowed us to pre-program about six to eight functions for the arm things like pointing pinching and grabbing it still can't perform the vast variety of functions that are natural arms can when you look at the sheer
could we get robotic bodies prosthetics augs and exoskeletons
complexity of the human body about 500 million neurons are involved in the simple act of moving your arm but the luke arm only uses a few hundred of those what we need is an arm that's directly integrated into our nervous system and can be more intimately controlled by the user not just a robot programmed with neural data for that reason we have my own electrically controlled

prosthetics

recently we've witnessed the release of the newbie bionic 3 prosthetic arm allowing the waiver to
tighten hold objects and even crack an egg the first person to try the arm was a man named Nigel Auckland who lost part of his arm in an unfortunate accident the fact that the grip moves on as well makes it more human we tend to try things that nobody would bother I mean I'll now go out of my way to pick things up with this hand we'll try and hold things with this hand unlike body controlled

prosthetics

or interface controlled

prosthetics

these

robotic

limbs literally respond to your
muscle twitches and your nerves can actually feed electrical signals to the prosthetic directly another prosthetic called cyber legs by Bru buttocks even allows amputees to walk along with a cognitive chip that makes the leg semi-autonomous but what if we

could

sync all these

prosthetics

directly to our brain last year surgeons at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore Maryland reported that for the first time a patient was now able to move their prosthetic arm using nothing but their thoughts
this new device is called an MP L or modular prosthetic limb and you can decode the intent for motion within the shoulder elbow wrist and hand directly from the brains thoughts the only catch is that they have to have an implant inserted into their arm through a surgery called TMR or targeted muscle reinnervation where surgeons reroute the nerves of your joints into new muscle groups in this study a man with epilepsy had electrode sensors implanted into the sensor motor regions of his brain in
order for researchers to program the device it sounds like a painful process but it's more than worth it recently another report published in the journal Science Translational Medicine demonstrated a device called the brain mark titanium implant which fuses vibrating titanium

prosthetics

to your bones and then hooks them up to your nervous system using TMR once the nerves start to regrow they can be activated by the brain and detected by the electrodes of the prosthetic allowing patients to
control the device directly while these arms are certainly better than

robotic

interface

prosthetics

they aren't all that because they still lack the sensation of touch so can we make my only connection in turr prett commands from the brain and also relay back sense data can we create an arm that would let me feel the texture of a pineapple the softness of a pillow the pressure of a bench press or the wetness of water seemingly the answer is yes new research presented from the Journal of
plastic and reconstructive surgery demonstrates that myoelectric prosthesis appeal sensations like hot and cold or firm and soft these different sensations can be translated into neural signals characterized by the strength frequency and duration of synthetic impulses these impulses are created by sensory substitution that can provide feedback like a buzz or vibration when a limb comes into contact with something this concept is called an SRP and I for sensory regenerative peripheral nerve
interface which can be hooked up to your nerves and give you a true sense of touch furthermore researchers are also working on synthetic human skin for these

prosthetics

using materials that can detect pressure heat and humidity for example we have devices with aluminum atoms that can heat up very fast spread out and thus stop conducting electricity which will create a neural feedback loop that lets the patient feel a sensation of heat but not so fast even with these interfaces

prosthetics

still
could we get robotic bodies prosthetics augs and exoskeletons
can't replicate the complex two-way communication back and forth within the nervous system meaning that while we have the sensation of touch patients can't actually feel that their arm is there because they lack a sense of proprioception resulting in what psychologists call phantom limb syndrome studies from biomedical engineers at the Bloorview Research Institute show that about 75 percent of users reject and abandon their

prosthetics

for reasons like phantom limb syndrome seeing the
sensors as not intuitive enough for them and shockingly uncomfortable to use so how do we improve on this well bio physicist and engineer Hugh hare thinks the answer is a little thing called a mi controlled

prosthetics

35 years ago a rock-climbing accident left dr. hare stranded on a mountain with severe frostbite in both of his legs eventually requiring amputation below the knee after receiving his doctorate at MIT he began working on an advanced Lake prosthesis that

could

one day be able to
perfectly emulate and even surpass the functionality of his old legs after publishing 60 peer-reviewed papers and filing more than 40 patents he's getting closer than ever to achieving this goal his team at MIT is aiming to install hundreds of small computers that can input information from his legs into his nervous system and more accurately decode the neural input from his brain and body translating his intended movements with artificial electrodes this is the idea of neural embodied
design and it's what allows for the kind of bi-directional communication that will end to phantom limb syndrome the reason that current myoelectric lis controlled

prosthetics

have difficulty achieving a sense of proprioception is because the amputation paradigm they use breaks proprioceptive muscle relationships and can't convey accurate information to the brain about where the prosthesis is in space but dr. Harris team hopes to fix this problem using what's called an agonist
antagonist my own neural interface or am I which surgically links agonist muscle groups with antagonist muscle groups so that they bi-directionally contract in unison the AMI does this through hundreds of biological sensors that can electrically activate muscle tendons and relay proprioceptive information about length speed and force that can be decoded by our brain dr. hare isn't the only one developing this technology though a team of engineers researchers and scientists from the
University of Washington's grid lab and the National Science Foundation are also creating electronics that can enhance proprioceptive communication to develop their prosthetic the team implanted a set of what are called ACOG electrodes directly onto the surfaces of volunteer patients brains they then fitted these patients with gloves capable of tracking their hand positions and letting them know if the limb is in the correct position for grasping an object tightly enough when the hands were
open the electrodes had no stimulation but as the hands slowly closed the stimulation would increase in intensity giving the patient a gradient appropriate ception that

could

allow them to get used to their

prosthetics

adding this technology to multiple prosthetic joints would allow us to experience the natural sensation of having a new limb but neural and body design doesn't stop there we might also be able to extend proprioception technology into non anthropomorphic constructs like fins we
or tails this

could

lead to a transhuman future where

prosthetics

will not just be seen as a replacement for something we lost but rather an upgrade to something new for example if we

could

make prosthetic wings for the ability to fly it would most certainly make humans unrecognizable in terms of our current morphology but it'd be more than worth it dr. hare reminds us of a quote from Leonardo da Vinci who said once you have tasted flight you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned
skyward for there you have been and there you will always longed to return it's the idea of a future where people will purposely amputate their limbs because

robotic

prosthetics

will have more advantages than their old limbs did what if we can build arms that let basketball players make three-pointers from across the court let baseball players hit homeruns every time or let quarterbacks throw footballs with a I calculated accuracy but it doesn't stop at sports why not give ultrasound to
these limbs and have the same vision that a bat has why not give these

prosthetics

a third thumb to augment our dexterity better yet there's the Holy Grail why not give it superhuman strength we're all familiar with Marvel's Iron Man a comic book hero who displays a kind of super strength but perhaps one day the rest of us

could

have something like this - recently renowned Japanese

robotic

s company Cyberdyne has officially received FDA approval to make a medical version of its lower
body exoskeleton prototype known as the Hal or hybrid assisted limb this device essentially reads the intentionality of your nervous system and can restore mobility to disabled people with sophisticated sensors to detect bioelectric brain signals and coordinate muscle contraction what makes how better than the past

exoskeletons

we've developed is the fact that it can function autonomously as a body prosthetic but the Hal can be so much more than just a medical treatment it has the potential
to incorporate hydraulics that

could

grant us superhuman strength this is because the hal can actually support itself while being worn and add to no new weight to its user additionally Lockheed Martin and suit X also offer commercial alternatives for Ironman exosuits as does hyundai with their new HL x

robotic

exoskeleton all in all the triple threat of neural interfaces myoelectric interfaces and ami interfaces are steering us on course towards trance humanity one small step at a time currently

prosthetics

are mostly used to restore functionality but the day you notice people purposely amputating their arms for the potential of augmentation is the day you'll see the light at the end of the tunnel a tunnel toward a singularity where every aspect of our body is repairable and aging is no more however if we do become a race of repairable beings with repairable parts then how many replacements

could

you add until the original is no longer there a famous thought experiment about
identity called the Ship of Theseus asks that if we were to replace a plank of wood on a ship one by one over many years will it still be the same ship would this idea of the analogous to humans gradually adding

prosthetics

to ourselves in a few decades will we still be the same ship there's much concern over extensive prosthesis altering our human nature but honestly is it really that different from the concerned Socrates had over what books will do to our memory rest easy because in the
age of directed evolution to be human is to be trans human