Human Augmentation

In recent years we have seen a great progress in the development of modern assistive technologies that help people with physical disabilities to live a fulfilled life. The technology which help us achieve this by modern assistive devices like prosthetic devices, exoskeletons or some maybe internal artificial organs that have very complex software and electronics is called human augmentation.

If human augmentations can be used to give a disabled person a capability to overcome their disabilities and can live a life like a normal human being then it can also be used to extend the capabilities of the human body to achieve supernatural powers and abilities. Such non-invasive augmentation is possible with augmented reality and wearable technology.

This arises a question. Can humans become cyborg?
It’s completely conceivable that in the not-too-distant future, permanent, fully integrated prosthetic limbs and bionic implants will be widespread. Even today we not only have mind-controlled artificial limbs but with tiny implanted electrodes they can even give back a sense of touch to an amputee. So simply speaking, Yes.

Some human augmentation projects are:

  • Replicating Human Ability

Naked Prosthetics: A company that creates custom hand prosthetics for individuals who have had their fingers amputated. They are one of the first finger prosthetics manufacturers to provide their users with extremely high levels of dexterity.

Bioprinting: The process of creating organic tissues (organs, bones, skin, etc.) using 3D printing techniques. While this technology is still in its earliest stages, it has the potential to completely redefine the medical industry and how we typically think of healthcare.

  • Supplementing Human Ability

Exoskeletons: Wearable, mechanical devices that can be worn on the outside of the body. They typically provide the wearer with artificial strength and endurance. The Sarcos Guardian is an example of an industrial exoskeleton that allows a human worker to lift up to 200 pounds, perform precise operations with heavy machinery, and handle repetitive motions without strain.

Neuralink: Another project by Elon Musk with the ultimate goal of creating a brain-computer interface (BCI). If successful, the project would allow individuals to interact with a computer on a neural level. While this project is still in its infancy, Musk has a track record of making impossible ideas a reality.

  • Exceeding Human Ability

Zapata Flyboard Air: A turbine-powered hoverboard. The driver stands on top of it like a skateboard or surfboard and can fly up to 500 feet in the air. While the device is available for purchase, quotes seem to hover around a quarter of a million dollars. That said, the company is working to make the product more practical and affordable.

Synthetic Memory Chip: It’s no secret that hard drives are much better at retaining their memory than we are. They are also able to access that memory with greater speed and accuracy. This idea motivated neuroscientist Theodore Berger to explore synthetic memory chips that can be installed in the human brain. While still conceptual, the project could allow people to have “perfect” memories that never forget information.

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