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Medicine Robotics Science

A New Robotic Hand That Can "Feel" 112

Dyne09 writes "The BBC is running a video report about a group of Swiss and Italian scientists who have created the 'Smart Hand,' a robotic hand with forty sensors that 'connect directly to the brain.' Though fuzzy on the details, the report says the hand provides sensor feedback to a willing test subject, a 22-year-old man who lost his hand to cancer three years ago. How long until we have access to Star Wars-esque robotic limbs?"
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A New Robotic Hand That Can "Feel"

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  • Re:One word (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FlyingSquidStudios ( 1031284 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:36AM (#29804153) Homepage
    If I had a robotic hand, there are certain parts of my- and other people's- bodies that I would be very reluctant to touch, squeeze or otherwise pleasure with it. It's all fine and dandy until one of the hydraulic lines breaks and someone needs a new set of genitals.
  • by parallel_prankster ( 1455313 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:10AM (#29804305)
    So many new articles in the past weeks about new arms, legs, hearts (maybe/hopefully )etc, at what point will the concept of death change ? How much time do we have before all our parts can be replaced and we can be immortal overloads eating junk food all day.
  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:52AM (#29804475)

    Eventually it may be possible that the brain itself could be replaced with an artificial unit (and our conciousness "Transeferred"). At that point though I'd say that you wouldn't really have the same person left. Just a simulation of that person. Or as Dr. Bashir put it in one episode of DS9 (Star Trek had artificial brains):

    Nerys, if I remove the rest of his brain... put a machine in its place... he may look like Bareil... and he may even talk like Bareil... but it won't be Bareil. The "spark of life" will be gone. He'll be dead. And I'll be the one who killed him.

    Indeed if we ever moved to that point, there would be no need for the rest of the artificial organs. Most of that stuff serves one ultimate goal - keep the brain running. If the brain itself were powerable by electricity then it would make sense to eliminate the other inefficient biological parts and just plug the new artificial brain into a completely artificial body.

  • by UncleWilly ( 1128141 ) <> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:23AM (#29804847)

    When we more fully understand and modify humans through genetics, etc., it will make these mechanics look like stone spears do today.

    Just imagine if we could grow a new limb with some daily therapy in only a few months; or if humans were Radiation Hardened at the cellular level from birth.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:25AM (#29804853)

    Hey Edlll, think you might want to take a shower and wash some of that homophobia off. What do you care if it's a dude?

    Seriously, once the touch is digital, it's gender-less. Find me a digital tongue, I don't care if it's a guy, girl, or pygmie camel is on the other end so long as that tongue moves ........ohhhh like that!

    Besides, *all* my gay friends say hj's from other gay men are superior to the ones from straight women. Something about you have to have one to know how to touch one.

    Sweet dreams!

  • You stare at the mechanical version of yourself which has just been switched on. YOU still exist. The mechanical replacement in front if you has your memories and thinks as if it were you, but now being a third party observer I think it's plainly obvious that the entity standing in front of you is not you.

    Is it not? In the hypothetical Star Trek universe, are people no longer the same person after Transportation (in which their matter is destroyed completely and rebuilt at a different time and location)? The only thing preventing use of Transport for cloning (of an exact duplicate) is, as far as I know, ethical rather than technological (since they've had accidents that have cloned people). If one person steps into one door, and two people step out the other, who's to say which is "you"? If a perfect mind transfer were possible, I think the question's moot. If we put Stephen Hawking in a brand new robotic body, I suspect he'd be just as brilliant.

    If minds are information, it's not hard to imagine that, someday, technology will exist to allow us to make perfect copies -- just the way we now can with music. At (or before) that point, our whole concept of what it means to be a person will need to evolve. Accelerando delves into this in a more mindblowing and complete manner than I can. ;)

    If you knew your current body were dying of cancer, and you could transfer your consciousness to a machine next to your body, after having done so I believe the consciousness in the machine would consider itself "you" even as it watched its former shell die. Copying before death would be ... confusing, at the least. I would love to see some chess grandmaster do it, though. ;)

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