Thursday, February 20, 2014

Latest Bionic Man Development

A new prototype bionic hand allows an amputee to experience tactile sensations through the prosthesis:

Bionic Hand

This device isn’t ready for public release yet, being bulky and dependent on wired connections to the brain. And it doesn’t transmit subtleties such as temperature and texture. However, the wearer can feel shape and hardness, and with this artificial hand he can grasp objects by touch, able to sense the amount of force needed in a natural way instead of having to work by sight with trial and error—more than any previous bionic limb could do. The subject in this test reported that he felt as if his missing fingers were moving.

One more step closer to the Six Million Dollar Man (remember him?) or RoboCop. Or, to speak in really retro terms, it’s tempting to think of RoboCop as a high-tech version of the Tin Woodman of Oz: How much of a human body could be replaced and still allow us to consider the subject as the same person (or as human at all)? As long as the brain remains? Suppose the mind’s data are uploaded into an electronic brain in a completely artificial body? Is that the “real” person or merely a computer program copying him or her?

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

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