Tag Archives | Cyborg

The Real Cyborgs

This article by Arthur House in The Telegraph reads like a William Gibson cyberpunk novel, but it’s reality, here and now. He says “Forget wearable tech. The pioneers of our “post-human” future are implanting technology in to their bodies and brains. Should we stop them or join them?”:

Ian Burkhart concentrated hard. A thick cable protruded from the crown of his shaven head. A sleeve sprouting wires enveloped his right arm. The 23 – year-old had been paralysed from the neck down since a diving accident four years ago. But, in June this year, in a crowded room in the Wexner Medical Centre at Ohio State University, Burkhart’s hand spasmed into life.

At first it opened slowly and shakily, as though uncertain who its owner was. But when Burkhart engaged his wrist muscles, its upward movement was sudden and decisive. You could hear the joints – unused for years – cracking.

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Artist Neil Harbisson Is The World’s First Legally-Recognized Cyborg

harbisson Dezeen writes that the sensory augmentation device worn by the completely colorblind Harbisson is now recognized by authorities as part of his face:

Barcelona-based Harbisson wears a head-mounted antenna attached to a chip at the back of his skull that allows him to perceive colours. Harbisson charges his eyeborg via a USB power cable that attaches to the back of his head.

Harbisson wears the “eyeborg” headset to overcome a visual impairment called achromatopsia, which means he sees the world in shades of grey. The eyeborg turns colours into sounds, allowing him to “hear” them.

After a long battle with the UK authorities, Harbisson’s passport now carries a photo of him wearing his eyeborg, making him the world’s first government-recognised cyborg. In 2010, Harbisson founded the Cyborg Foundation – an organisation whose mission statement is to “help humans become cyborgs, to promote the use of cybernetics as part of the human body and to defend cyborg rights.”

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The 2045 Project: Cyborg Avatars Uploaded With Human Consciousness

milestones_small_enWhen you’re a tech multi-millionaire, this is the kind of project you come up with, at least in the case of 32-year-old Russian Dmitry Itskov. David Segal reports for the New York Times:

Get right up close to Dmitry Itskov and sniff all you like — you will not pick up even the faintest hint of crazy. He is soft-spoken and a bit shy, but expansive once he gets talking, and endearingly mild-mannered. He never seems ruffled, no matter what question you ask. Even if you ask the obvious one, which he has encountered more than a few times since 2011, when he started “this project,” as he sometimes calls it.

Namely: Are you insane?

“I hear that often,” he said with a smile, over lunch one recent afternoon in Manhattan. “There are quotes from people like Arthur C. Clarke and Gandhi saying that when people come up with new ideas they’re called ‘nuts.’ Then everybody starts believing in the idea and nobody can remember a time when it seemed strange.”

It is hard to imagine a day when the ideas championed by Mr.

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Insect Cyborgs May Be The Spies And First Responders Of The Future

111123133510-largeAirborne bugs equipped with sensors, microphones, and cameras will one day go wherever people cannot. Science Daily reports:

Research conducted at the University of Michigan College of Engineering may lead to the use of insects to monitor hazardous situations before sending in humans.

“Through energy scavenging, we could potentially power cameras, microphones and other sensors and communications equipment that an insect could carry aboard a tiny backpack,” Professor Khalil Najafi said. “We could then send these ‘bugged’ bugs into dangerous or enclosed environments where we would not want humans to go.”

The principal idea is to harvest the insect’s biological energy from either its body heat or movements. The device converts the kinetic energy from wing movements of the insect into electricity, thus prolonging the battery life. The battery can be used to power small sensors implanted on the insect (such as a small camera, a microphone or a gas sensor) in order to gather vital information from hazardous environments.

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Man Gets Smartphone Built Into His Arm

phoneFor this disabled British man, becoming a bit of a transhuman cyborg makes everyday tasks more doable. However, I think the rest of us will eventually get smartphones implanted in our arms simply out of laziness. Via the Telegraph:

Trevor Prideaux, who was born without his left arm, used to have to balance the smartphone on his prosthetic arm or put it on a flat surface to use it. But now Mr. Prideaux, 50, can call and text his loved ones without moving the mobile, which is embedded into his fiberglass and laminate limb.

The catering manager sought help from medical experts and communications chiefs at Nokia to build the special prosthethic. They carefully carved a phone shaped fibrecast cradle into the skin-colored prototype, allowing his Nokia C7 to sit inside it.

Mr Prideaux, of Wedmore, Somerset, said: “I think this is the first time this has ever been done in the world – and it is brilliant.

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Secret of NIMH? Memory Implant Boosts Brain Function in Rats

Secret of NIMHThis article reminds me a bit of The Secret of NIMH. Yes, my first awareness of animal experimentation was likely from a(n) Disney animated movie. Benedict Carey writes in the New York Times:

Though still a long way from being tested in humans, the implant demonstrates for the first time that a cognitive function can be improved with a device that mimics the firing patterns of neurons. In recent years neuroscientists have developed implants that allow paralyzed people to move prosthetic limbs or a computer cursor, using their thoughts to activate the machines.

In the new work, being published Friday, researchers at Wake Forest University and the University of Southern California used some of the same techniques to read neural activity. But they translated those signals internally, to improve brain function rather than to activate outside appendages.

“It’s technically very impressive to pull something like this off, given our current level of technology,” said Daryl Kipke, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Michigan who was not involved in the experiment.

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Austrian Man Amputates His Hand To Replace It With Bionic One

_52542971_twohandsstillGive this guy a hand for his courage. Won’t someone lend him a hand? … and so on. The BBC reports on our entry into the age of cyborgs, with laser-shooting eye transplants surely right around the corner:

An Austrian man has voluntarily had his hand amputated so he can be fitted with a bionic limb. The patient, called “Milo”, aged 26, lost the use of his right hand in a motorcycle accident a decade ago. After his stump heals in several weeks’ time, he will be fitted with a bionic hand which will be controlled by nerve signals in his own arm.

The patient, a Serbian national who has lived in Austria since childhood, suffered injuries to a leg and shoulder when he skidded off his motorcycle and smashed into a lamppost in 2001 while on holiday in Serbia.

A further operation involving the transplantation of muscle and nerve tissue into his forearm also failed to restore movement to the hand, but it did at least boost the electric signals being delivered from his brain to his forearm, signals that could be used to drive a bionic hand.

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Augment Your Body With Brainwave-Controlled Cat Ears

Completely real and available for purchase now from Japanese startup outfit Neurowear. Being a bionic cyber-feline has never looked cuter. Via Wired UK:
The ears twitch through a range of different positions, which correspond to different brain activity. So when you concentrate, the ears point upwards and when you relax the ears flop down and forwards. Mind control isn't new, but lately advances have been made to make mass market control devices at affordable prices.
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