Ever wanted to become like a superhero, enjoy super strength or vision, and even have information downloaded straight into your brain? Cyborg technologies are geared toward making all that happen, and some of them are even more advanced than what you see in science fiction shows like Robocop.
Being a cyborg can be quite an appealing prospect since it could extend your senses. This is one of the goals that researchers from the University of Minnesota are hoping to achieve through their new vibrotactile gloves – a pair of gloves designed to help firefighters navigate through thick clouds of smoke.
A new type of haptic technology, muscle propelled force feedback was developed by German scientists who managed to create a life-like force feedback system by using electrical impulses straight on the muscles for response.
Dialysis patients can enjoy a brand new invention designed to make their lives easier. The new wearable artificial kidneys, developed by Blood Purification Technologies Inc. in New Orleans, promises to reduce the time spent by dialysis patients in their chairs.
Air muscles have been around as a medical aid since the 1950s, and they are among the most popular cyborg technologies. They are easy to manufacture, light and easy to attach. They are designed to work by contraction, and they have load-length curves that make them look and feel more natural, quite similar to real human muscles.
Prosthetic limbs are among the oldest and most practical cyborg technologies. The latest intelligent prosthetic legs are developed to act just like real legs, being controlled through advanced hardware that anticipates the wearer's needs.
The bionic arm concept is the same as the idea behind prosthetic legs. The BeBionic Myoelectric prosthetic hand is one of the first fully functional such innovations. It moves each joint and finger individually through connections to the wearer's nerves and muscles.
Brainwave sensor technology is not new; in fact, it was used in the past to achieve feats like flying helicopters with brain signals picked up by EEG machines. Using fNIRS technology, researchers from Tufts University have upped the game, developing a system that can organize brainwave data to tap into the personal preferences of the subject.
One of the most remarkable cyborg technologies already existing today is the implant made out of self-assembling nano-fractal materials that is used to substitute cameras connected directly to the retina of blind people. The new “nanoflowers” developed by physicist Richard Taylor are still a work in progress, but when completed they will seamlessly connect to the retina to help blind people achieve clear vision.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology is currently testing a new type of contact lens that uses a liquid crystal shutter to allow the wearer to switch between normal vision and 2.8x magnification. This little invention will allow wearers to obtain instant telescopic vision in the near future.
As it often happens, the future is closer than we think, and these amazing cyborg technologies are definite proof of that. Which of these technologies would you want as your own? Do you know of other cyborg technologies worth mentioning here?
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