Change for the future...
Technology, now in the year 2013, has certainly come a long way. Our world is vastly concentrated on finding ways to turn science fiction into science fact. Already the world has taken huge steps in developing a better environment for society. Concern remains, however, what will happen to this technology-biology merge and how much power is too much power? In Will Smith’s IRobot movie, by the end of the movie, Robots are comfortably running the world.Technological advancements can be wonderful, but they are also a main concern for some people. It is crucial to face all the facts before diving into a transhumanism world; how much technology is too much technology? Prosthetics are defined as an artificial replacement of a body part and can either be internal, such as an artificial joint or external, such as an artificial limb. In focusing on external artificial limbs, these limbs present the opportunity for the injured to relive the life they had always imagined; however problems with these limb advancements still remain.
A brief look into the life of an i.e.d. explosion survivor...
Meet Cpl. Sebastian Gallegos, who lost his arm in an I.E.D. explosion in Afghanistan. The corporal now finds himself two years later with a different kind of limb, a one-hundred and ten thousand dollar robotic device with an electronic motor and sensors able to read signals from his brain. He is constantly in the office of his occupational therapist, lifting and lowering a sponge while monitoring a computer screen as it tracks nerve signals in his shoulder. Just as a baby is able to hold onto a finger the corporal has to relearn, which is no small task. Technology has adapted the world beyond belief and is benefitting many, such as corporal Sebastian Gallegos. The ability to rehabilitate to a higher level is due in part to the “bionic” prosthetics powered by microprocessors that have recently become available. The military is heavily involved in funding research for new technologies that will help amputees achieve the highest level of function possible. These military advancements will not only help wounded veterans, but also everyday people living without a limb due to many different factors like sclerosis or some form of vascular disease.
Prosthetics give the injured the opportunity to move on and restart their life where it was abruptly put on hold. For example, after an amputation members of the armed forces are no long automatically given a disability discharge. Instead the military offers them more options. The military has changed its policy regarding rehabilitation because they have recognized that it has large investment in the soldiers and if possible it is best to bring soldiers back into active service. The advancements in technology are allowing people a second life as long as they are willing to work for that new beginning. The importance of the ongoing, daily use of a human hand and arm cannot be underestimated.
why not prosthetics?
Wolf Schweitzer, a current amputee due to metastasized metacarpal and two removed lumbrical muscles, claims that negatives outweigh the positives of prosthetics. Prosthetics, in his eyes, are far too expensive, painful to wear, and not nearly as useful as one would hope and so heavy they leave bruises. His experiences are what he refers to as a“wakeup call” to researchers because he feels more comfortable without a prosthetic than with a prosthetic. As an amputee, Wolf Schweitzer has first-hand experience with prosthetics and he mentions that technology is way past reality and surely not obtainable; however today in 2013, society has indeed turned science fiction into science fact and has clearly obtained the impossible.
So like, what now?
Through it all, society is constantly changing whether humans like it or not; those Robots in IRobot are slowly creeping towards the future and a life of artificial intelligence such as the Matrix series is approaching. With new advancements only good can come because even a mishap may lead to the next big thing, just as artificial muscle for prosthetics was discovered. Keeping an open mind for the future will allow scientists and researchers from around the globe to work together and create functional prosthetic arms that amputees will no longer feel ashamed to wear and prosthetic arms that will put Sebastian Gallegos back to active duty fast. The opportunity society has today is unlike any other to help, fix, and serve those who already do so much.
Prosthetics technology: Past, Present, and Future...
Curious about the future of prosthetics? Are you wondering why and how our world became so advanced in the past few years? Take a look at this YouTube video presented by a group of college students who elaborate on the history, current breakthroughs, and the future of human prosthetic technology.