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  • Braxton Hoare

Are Cyborgs The Future Of Humanity?

Long have authors imagined sci-fi worlds of people enhanced by machines. Futures where people willingly exchange limbs for prosthetics as an opportunity to amplify their natural abilities. The clunky prosthetics of the past to be seen only as prototypes of what is to come. But how far from this potential reality are we, and what could it look like?

Well, today people are already able to control robotic arms and legs with only the power of their minds. Specialized sensors are placed on the nerve endings of the amputated joint and are sent into a computer to be processed and used for control of the artificial limb. Though not perfect, even with the current versions on the market there has been a clear and profound shift in the way people think about their prosthetics. While many people used to think of their prosthetics as a tool used to get around, or something that helps make life a little easier, today many people with these new robotic limbs see their prosthetics as an extension of themselves. Thanks to new sensory technology from companies like Atom Touch people can now feel touch through their prosthetic limbs. These major advancements in bionics bring mind-controlled limbs along with the aforementioned simulation of touch, allowing the users of the prosthetics to have an experience authentic to the real thing. Compared to the past lifeless prosthetics of the past, these new bionics will move much more true to their biological counterparts. 

All of this makes it possible for those using these new augments to do this previously unreachable for amputees. They are now able to gently pick up objects such as grapes, eggs and other delicate items that require some aspect of precision. Made possible through the sensors in the fingertips they can regulate their grip strength through the perceived force on the objects. This has historically been a challenge in bionics as controlling a powerful machine to delicately perform a task is complicated. Atom Touch even demonstrated someone who was able to play the piano using their mind-controlled arm, although impressive, the demonstration was not quite seamless and it is obvious that they still have years of work before these devices could be used with the precision required for something like surgery. It is tough for a bystander to know how well this technology works, as even a minuscule offset from how your brain thinks your fingers should move would create an uncanny feeling. 

All of this may remind some of the new video game Cyberpunk 2077 in which almost everyone has a unique augment of some sort. It depicts a bizarre world where people with prosthetics have surpassed those without, in terms of strength and utility. People can swap out robotic arms and legs for different tasks whether it be, a leg that lets you run faster and jump higher, or an arm with a weapon build in. Of course, this couldn’t possibly happen in real life though, right? Well, there are already people taking this idea into reality, from one man who made himself two feet taller with custom legs, to another who wears a custom drum stick as a hand. The possibilities are endless and who knows what weird things people will think up as technology progresses even further. So, even if bionics aren’t perfect yet, they have already monumentally improved many people’s lives and who knows what comes next next.

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