Bionic banality: Prosthetics and everyday enablement

Posted by Ian on Mar 9, 2009 in blog | No Comments
Following on from previous posts on human evolution and the enmeshment of humans with media (such as Matt Nagle),  I offer here a recent article in the New York Times that tells of the success story of Amanda Kitts research and development of advanced medical prosthetics. In the video shown above, Kitts demonstrates the use of a prosthetic arm which she is able to control with only her thoughts.
The prosthesis wires into the neural paths of other muscle groups through the remaining nerves from amputated limbs. Called ‘targeted muscle reinnvervation’, the technique is extremely effective if alarming. Certainly it is a beautiful example of medical science helping re-enable humans, particular war casualties. It leaves me, however, wondering if these steps towards re-enablement will lead inevitably to human augmentation. Would be possible to have fully functioning humans fitted with extra arms or legs? Who would have access to such technology? Juan Enriquez’s recent talk at TED certainly is timely.

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