Those Are Some Prosthetics

Wow, prosthetics have come a long way–these are tough!

This video from Biodapt shows their high-performance Moto Knee being used in a variety of action sports including snowmobiling, motor biking, mountain biking, horseback riding, water skiing, snow boarding, and jet skiing.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (11 July 2013) explains how the Moto Knee has hydraulic components that provide “tension and range of motion for intense physical activity.”

They cost around $6,000 and don’t replace the regular walking version, but Mike Schultz, the developer understands the need for these advanced prosthetics having lost a leg himself in a 2008 competitive snowmobiling accident.

I think it’s wonderful that these high-tech devices are being made available for disabled people to be able to do a wide range of exciting activities.

My hope is that as the technology continues to advance that we can have–like a person’s legs–one prosthetic device that is adaptive for use in every day use as well as more intense activities and sports.

It is hard to imagine people voluntarily trading their body parts for mechanical implants–but one day, in the not too distant future, these mechanical limbs will not only be a substitute for repair of real body parts, but will actually provide some superior capabilities–they will be used for body augmentation–and thus even be desirable by those who haven’t lost limbs.

What gives a leg up to prosthetics, as Hugh Herr in the Wall Street Journal (12 July 2013) put it is “that the designed parts of the body can improve in time, whereas the normal body, the biological body, degrades in time.”

With regenerative medicine and replacement parts by design, more than ever our physical bodies will be just the transient vessel that houses our heart, mind and soul–that which really makes us, us. 😉

Replacing Yourself, One Piece at a Time

Here is a wonderful idea to help people who use prosthetics–a smartphone built right in to the artificial limb.What was once a challenging task to hold a smartphoneand make calls, write emails and texts, or just search the web is now just a push of a button or voice command away.This is a user-centric and functional integration of technology with medical science to help those who have either lost limbs or been born without them.While a step forward for the disabled, perhaps this is also a move towards future technological augmentation of regular body parts as well.What was once a tattoo or body piercing on the periphery may soon become an implanted smartphone in the body part of your choosing.The concept reminds me of the MTV show “Pimp My Ride” where run-of-the-mill cars are completely made over into new awesome vehicles by stripping them and rebuilding them with better, cooler parts.Is this where we are going with our human bodies–where one day we are an old beat-up minivan only to have our parts swapped out and replaced with biotechnology to become a new hotrod convertible once again.Now we are moving from leveraging technology for medical purposes to tinkering with our our physical bodies, using technology, for preference.Yes, this is already being done with facelifts and other cosmetic surgery, but how about replacing entire body parts not because they are diseased, but because you want or can afford an upgrade?Lot’s of exciting and scary implications to think about with this one–as our body parts become replaceable almost like legos–snap on and off.In the future, becoming a better, stronger, faster person may not be just a function of what you do, but how much you can afford to replace.