Augmented Humanity – Prosthetics

For most folks, being able to do things for yourself is really important, and none more so than professional soldiers. Unfortunately, the world’s a bad place, and all to often we have to send in the lads and lasses to clean up the failures of the world’s politicians. Also all too often, they come home in pieces.

The good news is these people are some of the strongest, most determined, most likely to not only survive but to return to life. If you think differently, I challenge you to volunteer at your local VA hospital; I guarantee you’ll be inspired.

One of the subjects I find fascinating – as many authors do, particularly science fiction authors – is prosthesis. Wouldn’t you agree? Wouldn’t you just love to walk on set for Game of Thrones and shake Jaime’s hand? I still fondly remember my Six Million Dollar Man action figure with bionic arm.  One time I shock a man’s chrome hook – it was able to articulate via bicycle cables; I told him his hand was cold, and we both had a big laugh. True story!

The entire subject is exploding with awesomeness, because the prosthetic limbs of today are far different from the ones made in your parents day. Oh, they’re still making limbs with bicycle cables, but they’re doing the research, and they’re coming up with new and better materials, electronics, motors and sensors. These people are bloody smart.

TED talks are great. Anyway, people who have suffered these crazy losses are getting their lives back more and more, and the technological augmentation keeps them from having to do it through brute force. Here’s a short piece that anyone who likes the “How It’s Made” shows will appreciate over at Nat Geo. Go ahead and watch it – it’s only three or four minutes, and I’ll wait here…

Good stuff, aye? Now if we could only make these sorts of advances with artificial organs – kidneys, for instance…