The rantings of a curious man in a very strange world

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cyborgs Among Us

A term coined in 1960, a cyborg is a being with artificial and biological parts, we see them in fiction as a symbol of man’s dependence on technology, or the destruction of humanity at the hands of technology. Whether or not we will be destroyed by cybernetic weapons, I don’t pretend to know, but we have been creating real cyborg individuals, human and otherwise.

Now

Currently we have few cases of real cyborgs, but they are undeniably awesome. For humans the installation of a mechanical appendage is almost exclusively to replace a missing limb, lost due to injury. Pacemakers and some hearing aids are minor forms of cybernetic implants along with bone and joint replacements. All of these you probably wouldn’t take notice of on another person, but what of the non medical cyborgs, those that fuel the blockbuster hits.
From what I can find out the United State’s government isn’t currently working on any cybernetic implants for military application on humans, though if you find anything to the contrary please comment with a link. What they are working on are cyborg insects, far less expensive than building a robot fly spy, they can implant controls into flying insects such as moths and beetles with the ability to relay sound and video recordings back to base.

Future

In the next few years we may be seeing cybernetic implants for non medical purposes, performance enhancing implants may become an issue in sports as such things become more popular. Body modification culture has already begun to use electronics and mechanics to express their beliefs, I have no doubt that such body hacking will continue to grow. Electronic Implants for aesthetic purpose have only just recently become a reality but with new ways of interfacing the human body to our mechanical creations, new beautiful and possibly terrifying practices may grow out of this field.
The ability to perceive the things happening in front of you at a higher frame rate than our own eyes can process would be an amazing boon to artisans and doctors. A grounding line inside the body of an electrician might just be the difference between a tingling sensation and his body becoming a charred corpse. Fortifying the human skeleton to be more resistant to physical harm may become a procedure that cuts hospital costs across the world. Tomorrow is going to be fun.

(Sorry for the delay of Wednesday’s post, my family had a medical emergency and I was busy hanging out with the little guy. Everybody is mostly intact, so no worries.)

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