I’m working on having conversations with some developmental and family psychologists about the kinds of things you would expect I’d be talking to them–and then telling you–about. I’m also working with several other people to organize three or four different A/V conversations about various shows and films that’ve come out, this year.
Obviously, then, we’re in the middle of some detailed discussions which might take a little while, so until they take a firmer shape, let’s talk about something else near and dear to our hearts: Cybernetic Augmentations!
It’s actually been a pretty great few months for our advancements in wearable prostheses/augmentations, so I’m just going to list a few of my favourites and most recent ones, below:
- “[Double Shoulder-Level] Amputee Makes History with [Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory’s] Modular Prosthetic Limb”
‘A Colorado man made history at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) this summer when he became the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee to wear and simultaneously control two of the Laboratory’s Modular Prosthetic Limbs. Most importantly, Les Baugh, who lost both arms in an electrical accident 40 years ago, was able to operate the system by simply thinking about moving his limbs, performing a variety of tasks during a short training period.’
- ‘Ocumetics Bionic Lens Could Give You Vision 3x Better than 20/20’
‘”There’s a lot of excitement about the Bionic Lens from very experienced surgeons who perhaps had some cynicism about this because they’ve seen things not work in the past. They think that this might actually work and they’re eager enough that they all wish to be on the medical advisory board to help him on his journey,” DeLuise says.
‘”I think this device is going to bring us closer to the holy grail of excellent vision at all ranges — distant, intermediate and near.”
‘Pending clinical trials on animals and then blind human eyes, the Bionic Lens could be available in Canada and elsewhere in about two years, depending on regulatory processes in various countries, Webb says.’
- 3D-Printed Titanium Jaw Lets Turtle Eat Again
‘Once the bionic turtle has made a full recovery, the team plans to release it back into the ocean to live happily once again. It’s hoped that this pioneering surgery will be able to help more injured sea turtles in the future and improve their chances of survival.’
- “Amputees Control Bionic Legs with Their Thoughts” (Video At Link)
‘As soon as I put my foot on, it took me about 10 minutes to get control of it. I could stand up and just walk away. Come back, sit down, use my muscles to move my foot in the position I wanted to use it. It was, like you couldn’t believe the feeling when you were moving your ankle. It was really strange. I couldn’t explain it. It was like, I was moving it with my muscles, there was nobody else doing it, the foot was not doing it, I was doing it, so it was really strange and overwhelming,” Olafsson remembered.’
What we’re looking at is a lot of potentially wonderful biomechanical interventions coming to fruition, right now and in the next few months and years. On top of that, for the past couple of weeks, NPR’s been a providing a great deal of coverage on autonomous created/generated machine intelligences and their applications for daily life. As we can see in this piece about Ellie, the interactive therapeutic system used to diagnose PTS, and depression, the level of sophistication in machine intelligences–not to mention the pace of their development–is increasing, and so, therefore, is the pressure to accept these developments as “normal.”
Now you well know (and others won’t hesitate to tell you) that the existences of these therapies, prostheses, augmentations, and systems are not unequivocal benefits, applicable to any and all experiential modes, but as the bullet list above shows, if we keep our minds about us, then we can apply them with discernment. And those applications can damn sure do many of us a lot of good.
[EDIT: While I was working on this post, The Washington Post published this piece:
- ‘After Years of Paralysis, A Man Drinks a Beer with the Help of a Mind-Reading Robot‘
‘Sorto isn’t the first patient to help test robotic arms that take their cues directly from brain signals. But unlike previous subjects, Sorto doesn’t use his motor cortex — the part of the brain that creates movement — to operate the arm. Instead, his doctors had electrodes implanted in the posterior parietal cortex (PPC), which transmits the intention to move down to the motor cortex to translate it into movement.’
Bolding mine and more information and a video at the link. So there’s that.]