Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bionic Limbs

The Bionic Man is almost here! In Chicago, an amputee is testing a prosthetic leg he controls with his thoughts, just as we move our biological limbs by thinking of the movement:

Bionic Leg

Granted, this patient has suffered only partial amputation. He still has most of an upper leg, whose nerves communicate with the artificial limb. Still, it’s a great start. Question: Could this mental control ever be made wireless? In the future, will we be able to move objects with our thoughts that are NOT physically connected to our bodies? If so, that technology would hardly be limited to people with missing parts.

Think of Captain Pike on the original STAR TREK, a prime example of “Technology Marches On.” With prosthetics already developed so far, it seems unlikely that in the century when the show takes place, Pike would be restricted to total immobility and non-communication aside from flashing “Yes” and “No” lights. Stephen Hawking already has more advanced assistive technology than that.

And consider the plight of the producers of STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE, a prequel made in an era when some of the "futuristic" equipment on the Enterprise in the original series had been superseded.

Many other examples of “Technology Marches On” with outdated fictional future technology in various media, on the TVTropes site. (See also “Science Marches On.”):

Technology Marches On

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

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