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A person can never be broken
April 10, 2014 4:27 PM   Subscribe


 
I have to confess I don't have much first-hand knowledge of prosthetics, apart from what I've read and seen, so apologies if the FPP seems a bit light. But the video is so awe inspiring I felt compelled to share it. These are technologies I used to dream about as a kid, becoming a reality not 20 years later. How far we've come!
posted by kyp at 4:29 PM on April 10


I'm sure grateful there are people like Hugh Herr out there doing this kind of thing, making the world a better place, step by step.
posted by Max Udargo at 5:18 PM on April 10


We're kinda hitting that weird boundary zone where the prosthetic starts becoming not so much a substitute for the "real thing" as an upgrade to it. Human 2.0. Luckily years of childhood study of The Six Million Dollar Man has prepared me and my age-cohort for the coming new reality.
posted by yoink at 5:49 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Some of the few good things to come out of our armed foreign escapades are advances in artificial limb technology.
posted by Renoroc at 6:24 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


When my friends and I used to play games like Cyberpunk and Torg (Tharkold represent!) we found that opting for cybernetic limbs more often than not gave us advantages that our purely human counterparts lacked.

I find it very weird to be watching this technology reach a point where that could actually be a reality in my lifetime.

For now, I'm ecstatic that so many people who've been maimed in our oversea adventures, or just by misfortune here at home will soon have technology that is leaps and bounds (pun intended) of what we had available just ten or fifteen years ago.

Shorter: Awesome. I wanted to cry along with the dancer.
posted by quin at 7:32 PM on April 10


yoink: "We're kinda hitting that weird boundary zone where the prosthetic starts becoming not so much a substitute for the "real thing" as an upgrade to it. Human 2.0. Luckily years of childhood study of The Six Million Dollar Man has prepared me and my age-cohort for the coming new reality."

Were I to find myself in need of leg/foot prosthetic, I would insist that it include a chip that makes this sound when I ran or jumped.
posted by calamari kid at 7:54 PM on April 10


Wow, it's really amazed me how far this stuff has come even in just 5 years or so. I remember when this was as advanced as it got, and now we're here.

I'm sure a lot of this has to do with the zero-sum race to the bottom of lots of computing power costing nothing, using almost no power, and fitting inside something the size of a pocket watch(this is a great example of what i'm talking about, and it's not even top of the line power wise).

A big part of the improvements are also likely these scientists and engineers gaining a better working understanding of how neural signaling and reflexes work, and stuff like the compliance of the biomechanical structure that's mentioned in this video... but i can't help but think that a good portion of the problem was that they just couldn't crunch that data fast enough. A robot leg that only moves fluidly when it's plugged into a bank of workstations isn't all that useful.

And i mean, comparing the advance of that sort of tech with the advance of this in parallel seems to just meet at infinity. I can only see this leading to the special olympics meaning "the one where everybody outruns the cheetah"
posted by emptythought at 9:36 PM on April 10


We're approaching a critical point in materials technology where the really cool new materials we have (super strong, super flexible, super stretchy, super hard, whatever) can be formed and/or shaped under computer control.

You can buy, practically off the shelf, a machine that will form resin in any shape you want. If you're willing to spend a bit more money you can even form it in metal, but you're still limited to things that are easy to form. In a decade I expect that you'll be able to form shapes from multiple materials, chosen for their suitability for the task and not their ease of production. When that happens we will literally be able to print personalised prosthetic limbs. This will make such a huge difference for so many people.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:04 PM on April 10


On another tangent, I like the aesthetic convergence between his legs and the bionic limbs in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. (Also in various fan-film scenes like this.)
posted by anonymisc at 10:10 AM on April 11




"Organisers expect events will run like clockwork".
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:07 PM on April 12




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