Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Medicine Science

Human Tests of Mind-Controlled Artificial Arm To Begin 119

kkleiner writes "The world's first human testing of a mind-controlled artificial limb is ready to begin. A joint project between the Pentagon and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, the Modular Prosthetic Limb will be fully controlled by sensors implanted in the brain, and will even restore the sense of touch by sending electrical impulses from the limb back to the sensory cortex. Last week APL announced it had been awarded a $34.5M contract with DARPA, which will allow researchers to test the neural prosthetic in five individuals over the next two years."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Human Tests of Mind-Controlled Artificial Arm To Begin

Comments Filter:
  • AWESOME! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the_macman ( 874383 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @11:07PM (#33133744)

    Excellent! First article I see after watching this []. 2027 is only 17 years away!!! :D

    • That looks like a Ghost in The Shell based game. Even the personal cloak and the ships are very similar. Of course it would be based years before Ghost in the Shell.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kenoli ( 934612 )
        The technology in ghost in the shell is quite a bit more advanced.
        Full body prosthesis > arms that turn into guns.
      • That looks like a Ghost in The Shell based game.

        ... as opposed to a Deus Ex based game...?

      • by hitmark ( 640295 )

        the concept of a jet engine powered osprey have been around for a while in multiple media. Iirc one of the first movies that showed something like it was the drop ship in aliens, tho that could itself have been inspired by something from earlier anime or similar.

        Basically its about taking the iconic huey, optionally with its side doors slung open, and add something "futuristic" to it.

        you even find such a vehicle in star wars, delivering clone troopers. Funny thing is, with its cocpit setup, ot looks almost

    • by lyml ( 1200795 )
      The summary is wrong, the project is not first, so 2027 is not even that far away :P.
      In Sweden [] the project is apparently already in its late stages, while this will probably not be done in another 10-20 years.
  • Do I really need to say anything else?
  • I notice it's called the "Luke Arm". Okay, so Luke only lost a hand, but still...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by scdeimos ( 632778 )
      Actually it's the Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) - the Luke arm comes from a competitor Deka, which is owned and run by Segway inventor Dean Kamen.
      • by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @08:43AM (#33136428) Journal

        the Luke arm comes from a competitor Deka, which is owned and run by Segway inventor Dean Kamen

        Not competitor, exactly. When DARPA started the Revolutionizing Prosthetics project some five years ago, they created two independent development paths. DEKA was tasked with making the most advanced prosthetic arm available with current technology, while APL was tasked (primarily) with developing a neural interface for a prosthetic. APL also developed an arm, which they'll be using in their trails, but you don't hear as much about that. The division was primarily between applied engineering, leading to an actual product, and research translation that is a longer-term effort.

    • Star wars fans amongst bio-engineers and roboticists? What are the odds!

    • by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @02:25AM (#33134744)

      Yeah, they should have called it "The Stranger".

  • by adamdoyle ( 1665063 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @11:14PM (#33133798)

    A joint project between the Pentagon and Johns Hopkins...

    haha a joint project.

  • You beat me to it! I WAS going to say that they must be accounting for inflation and creating five 6.9 million dollar men.
  • by Dwonis ( 52652 ) * on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @11:50PM (#33133962)
    I wonder if this is going to run afoul of... arms-control regulations?

    /me ducks

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdflat.cCHICAGOom minus city> on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @11:57PM (#33133990) Journal

    ...connecting something directly to the human brain?

    What would happen if there was a malfunction and the current levels going into the brain for sensor feedback were unregulated?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by HBoar ( 1642149 )
      That would lead to a zombie apocalypse, obviously.
      • and it's modded 70% INSIGHTFUL? (as I'm posting, anyway)

        Look, I get that people thought it was funny and want to give the guy points, but come on... Welcome to Slashdot, I guess. Sometimes I wish I were a zombie; then I wouldn't be reading this stuff.

        Mod me down, folks. The points obviously don't mean a damn thing anymore.

        • The points obviously don't mean a damn thing anymore.

          That's really a sad statement. I remember back when I started reading slashdot. I was a grad student, and my high karma helped keep food on the table.

          Those were the days, eh?

          • That's not at all what I meant and I hope to insert nonexistent deity here you knew that.

            There was a time, though, when an Insightful post actually was somewhat insightful.

      • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

        Cyborg, not zombie. As I have a device implanted in my left eye, all I can say is


    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by stripathy ( 1870498 )
      Worst case scenario the neurons in that particular region would die. If the current stimulus was even higher then that local region of the brain would die and the person would no longer be able to sense his arm, or finger; but those sensations would likely regenerate because the brain is very adaptable.
    • by Kenoli ( 934612 )
      Nobody knows. It's why they're doing this research.

      Barring any silly technical glitches, I don't see any particular reason it should be very dangerous.
    • by Thing 1 ( 178996 )

      What would happen if there was a malfunction and the current levels going into the brain for sensor feedback were unregulated?

      Apple's new iArm uses a secret resistor configuration to ensure that this never happens, and that all your wallet are belong to them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cgenman ( 325138 )

      We used to bridge current directly through people's brains for therapy, at pretty high power levels. That sucker seems reasonably resilient.

      • actually, this is still a valid question. Those huge intensities are something completely different.
        We can be certain that these small fluctuating currents flowing through the brain won't kill you directly. But they could lead to erroneus sensory input, right up to the limit of psychosis. You can facilitate the appearance of illusions if you play with electromagnetic fields around a brain (I remember seeing some discussions about experiments on Discovery).
        Or another thing: you can unwittingly generate some

      • by BVis ( 267028 )

        If you're referring to electro-convulsive therapy (ECT, formerly known as 'shock therapy'), they still use it [] to treat mental illness. It's done as a quick outpatient procedure. Seems barbaric, but apparently it works.

  • by stripathy ( 1870498 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:04AM (#33134034)
    This technology is clearly very cool, but there's two major hurdles to overcome before everyone's running around with one of these.

    1. Controlling the device. Currently scientists/doctors control these brain computer interfaces (BCIs) by implanting electrodes into the patient's brain and finding neurons which code for particular movements (arm up or ring finger down). As the output device gets more complicated, like the arm here, doctors need to find more and more neurons to represent each degree of freedom of the output device.

    2. Quality of neural recordings degrade with time. The current shelf life of the electrode arrays used in these experiments is ~1-2 years because after implantation, the brain's immune system rejects the device and neurons which code useful information die or move elsewhere.
    • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:34AM (#33134192) Homepage Journal

      I am not a neurosurgeon, but it seems to me that implanting probes in the motor cortex is probably not the best solution anyway. You already presumably have peripheral motor nerves coming off the spine and across your back to where the arm used to be (ignoring people who can't use limbs due to spinal damage for the moment). And peripheral motor nerves, unlike spinal nerves, don't suddenly stop controlling your arm and start controlling your leg or start controlling a different muscle in your arm, generally speaking.

      To use a computer analogy, controlling implants with probes in the brain is like staying in a hotel in NYC and controlling the lights in your house in California by installing a box that introspect the packets that flow through a core router on a major Internet backbone in Cleveland. Ten hours later, you drive to D.C., and the packets that went to your house get routed through Detroit instead, so your house isn't controllable. As you get closer to your house, you encounter fewer possible paths that actually go to your house. Thus, the closer you are to the endpoint, the greater the likelihood that the packets are going to pass through your tap. By the time the packets get to your house, you can be pretty sure that they're intended for your house, or at worst, for somebody in your general neighborhood.

      So by tapping the peripheral motor nerves, you'd reduce the number of problems you have to deal with down to one: the nerves near the implant site dying. And even in that case, repairs would be less dangerous; you would shorten the nerve in the person's shoulder area instead cutting into his/her skull. Also, the mechanisms that attack implants in the brain aren't present in the rest of the body, AFAIK, so you might have a whole different set of problems or you might have fewer problems, but it seems unlikely that you'd have the same problems.

      • by c0lo ( 1497653 )
        On the other hand (or should I say: the other arm?), the motor nerves don't "learn" - they are just simple wires.
        I reckon that this might bring other problems into the picture (like: an old brain doesn't only need to learn new tricks, but also to unlearn the old ones - the old wires don't lead to the same muscles, nor the behaviour of the new "muscles" is the same as what is used to be).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          I would think that this is where the DSP comes in.... You have a series of chemical signals coming in from specific nerves, and you turn each of these signals into a separate data stream. You ask the person, "Okay, try lifting your arm straight up." You then record what happens. Repeat for other actions to build up a rough map of what neuron does what. Then, you have the person try to use the limb, starting from various positions, and tell the person to do specific things, progressively tuning the amou

          • by plastbox ( 1577037 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @04:51AM (#33135374) Homepage
            Why does so many here seem to think this would be needed? I'm pretty sure you could hook up the prosthetic limb to more or less any signal picked up from the implants and send the patient to physical(/mechanical) therapy. The brain is easily the worlds biggest neural net, and incredibly flexible and adaptive. The way I figure, there is no effing way the sensomotoric correlations wouldn't emerge on their own with use and exploration.
      • by Dr Max ( 1696200 )
        I don't think your analogy worked very well, but I’ll try to follow; you are proposing that an internet connection to your house from NYC made out of an incredibly tiny fragile wire is broken (after your light bulb in California got bitten of by a lion) and your going to try and find the break and twist the wires together (reconnecting it to your brand new light). These guys at APL are proposing to put in a whole new wire (it'll be wifi but it’s your analogy) straight from the switch in NYC (you
      • by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @10:14AM (#33137396) Homepage

        your proposition does not only make sense, but is even used in other experiments or products. Earlier prosthetic arms read signals from nerves and remaining fragments of muscles (mentionned in TFA). Also the HAL exoskeletton predicts which motion to assist by reading nerves and muscle.

        BUT all this requires functionning nerves.
        according to TFA, this artificial arm is intended for quadrplegic patients (with whom no useful brain impulse controls anything below the neck, except the main respiratory muscle)
        for the intended patient, brain-computer-interfaces are the only way to go.

        Also, a nerve requires a connexion to a muscle to function properly. You can't just put an electrode on it to read the signal. If the limb is missing, the nerve is un connected and dies of or degrades. That's why another artificial limb is mentionned to require renervation of muscles.
        The golden target for non-quadraplegic patients would probably be to design which, to the body, exactly look like what the nerves grow onto, so the body will naturally make synapses to link the artificial limb.

    • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

      doctors need to find more and more neurons to represent each degree of freedom of the output device.

      Not necessarily - google for "brain rewire" (connecting supplementary electrodes to the neighbouring neurons might do the trick)

      the brain's immune system rejects the device

      Now, this is a problem; before your brain learns how to use the interface, the interface is irrationally rejected - how stupid for the brain ;)

    • Remember the movies "Forbidden Planet" with the ID trying to kill everyone? Then remember the movie "Dr. Strangelove" where Peter Sellers arm starts choking himself? Well...
    • by hitmark ( 640295 )

      my understanding is that the latest solutions use peripheral nerves wired to small skin muscles on the chest, and then place a sensor pad on top that can read the contractions of individual muscles.

    • 3. The person to whom the arm is attached to will lose any ability to jump.
  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:10AM (#33134072) Journal
    I love this stuff because people who lost limbs or are paralyzed can become fully functional if it comes to pass! This sort of thing inspires great hope. Still I think about strange mad scientist applications...

    If an electrical connection can control an arm, how much longer until you can control a whole body?

    Since its an electrical connection, it could also be a wireless connection so you could control things at a distance.

    If you had a computer, it could control the body too.

    If someone goes brain dead or a coma, a computer could use that body like a robot with the right wiring and WIFI.

    Or what might happen is that it doesn't use people... The setup may use an animal instead.

    Who wants a monkey butler with the brain of a computer? How about a spy cat?

    I don't expect those things to actually happen because people have morality, but they could be possibilities. I think its more likely that robot bodies will be built by people, but this technology makes you wonder what strange things are possible.
    • If one were feeling especially unpleasant, one needn't wait for the brain to shut down before replacing the brain's control of the body with an artificial control unit...(extra credit will, naturally, be granted for allowing the brain to retain enough sensory access to witness the body that it no longer controls destroying everyone and everything it ever loved)

      It's probably the closest you can get to "I have no mouth and I must scream" with relatively plausible near future technology.
    • by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:49AM (#33134260) Journal

      I don't expect those things to actually happen because people have morality [...]

      You must be new here...

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      If an electrical connection can control an arm, how much longer until you can control a whole body?

      I think we're likely to be able to repair spinal cord damage long before we learn how to patch around it with electronics. We're getting [] closer [] every [] day [].

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kainosnous ( 1753770 )

      I don't expect those things to actually happen because people have morality,

      People are not by nature moral. What most people call "morals" is really just a bunch of self serving excuses for doing bad things. The only influences, secularly speaking, that will keep this technology from being used in the most hideous ways are laziness, lack of sufficient resources, and greedy bickering between scientists, corporations, and bureaucrats.

      • by cgenman ( 325138 )

        Remind me never to throw Christmas at your house.

        You could also say that people have morals drilled into them though a process of socialization. There are certain morals that are inherent in the step of brain development where people realize that other people are people too. And there are morals genetically coded to do things like reduce inbreeding and to keep similar genes from stabbing other similar genes.

      • Man, this whole morality-debate (weather it's absolute or relative, learned or inborn) gets me kind of riled up. The only thing needed to explain morale is The Cardemon Law [] (which is a Norwegian song from a children's play, and sounds absolutely retarded in English).

        Empathy: most people have it, and instinctively know that if you kick someone in the shin it's going to hurt them and thus kicking isn't something you should do. Ability to reason: most people are supposed to have it (although observation seems

        • I never said that people don't know what is right. While people may not fully grasp all the implications, they do know what is right... and then intentionally do the opposite. That's human nature.

          There are really only two laws: 1. Love God, and 2. Love thy neighbour as thyself. If people would do that, then they would be fine. The fact that they don't is the reason for all the crime and corruption in the world.

          That being the case, religion won't help matters either. That's simply adding more rules for peopl

      • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @06:41AM (#33135746) Journal

        People are not by nature moral. What most people call "morals" is really just a bunch of self serving excuses for doing bad things. The only influences, secularly speaking, that will keep this technology from being used in the most hideous ways are laziness, lack of sufficient resources, and greedy bickering between scientists, corporations, and bureaucrats.

        Yes, because we all know that it is only religious belief that enables ethical behaviour, and that all religious believers are truly moral people.
        You are a fucking cunt on a tricycle.

    • by cgenman ( 325138 )

      Two things that make the system above work is that A: the brain is pretty self-organizing, and B: the brain has more neurons to fire than the robot arms. The brain being self-organizing means that if you jam an arm control somewhere in the motor cortex, through trial and error the brain will more or less figure out where it is and how to use it. If you tried to connect a complex neurological connection to the computer in the other direction, you'd have to know exactly what each neuron effected before hook

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by plastbox ( 1577037 )

        Why should input to this immense, self-organizing computer be any different than output? Read up on Sensory Substitution [] (or augmentation, or perceptual augmentation, or whatever you feel like calling it).

        Just as you say, the brain would figure out how the arm worked if allowed to explore and test. The same thing is true about sensory information presented to the brain through the skin, as long as there is a correlation between the signals going out and the signals coming in. What's the reasoning behind thi

    • I expect them to happen because not everyone's sense of morality is the same.

      I also expect them to happen because they've already been happening - there is research being done on rats wherein they are implanted with devices that can then be used to send them signals to make them move around, essentially a remote control rat.

      With regards to surveillance and espionage, it absolutely makes sense to me that this would be and will be used in birds if it's possible to do so. The "moral" issues of using an animal

    • by necro81 ( 917438 )

      If an electrical connection can control an arm, how much longer until you can control a whole body?

      Perhaps I don't give proper credit for exponential growth, but my response is "a freakin' long time." It's a really hard problem to even a handful of control inputs from a neural interface - enough to control an arm. To control a whole body, even in a simplified fashion, would require tens, if not hundreds. For The Matrix kind of integration, probably a few million. It will take a few decades, maybe long

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      You're reading too much science fiction. Mad scientist???

      If an electrical connection can control an arm, how much longer until you can control a whole body?

      Then quadraplegics could walk and lead normal lives.

      Since its an electrical connection, it could also be a wireless connection so you could control things at a distance.

      That's stupid. Just because it could be doesn't mean it would be. Why would you want your arms and legs to be controllable by anyone but yourself? No way would it be wireless, nobody but

  • You have got to wonder why the Pentagon is involved. I "get" the obvious benefit to soldiers maimed in battle, but I'm cynical enough to think there must be a deeper desire to create "super-soldiers". Soldiers with artifical limbs that are more powerful and protective than human tissue obviously is. Soldiers who can fire a weapon just by thinking about it. Someone at the Pentagon may have watched "Robo-cop" one too many times. Lets hope they keep this medical - the alternative is just a little too frighteni
    • Well, the navy has done experiments with trying to use electrodes on the tongue as an input device for divers to create a more intuitive feel for where mines and other objects are. I'd suspect the pentagon would want to eventually create some teleautomatic UAVs or submersibles that feel more natural to control.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tsotha ( 720379 )

      You're being overly cynical. Nearly all advances in reconstructive surgery and prosthetics have been driven by militaries over the years. These programs are explicitly for reconstruction and rehabilitation.

      The super-soldier thing just isn't practical. For one thing, you could buy a couple tanks for the price you'd pay to wire someone up like that. For another, what would you do with your super-soldiers when they didn't reenlist or became unfit for duty? Then there are basic power/size/weight considera

  • Takes self lovin to a whole new level.
  • by jameskojiro ( 705701 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:52AM (#33134282) Journal

    This is just the first step, the next step will be interfacing a person's brain into a device for processing data, ie. A cyber brain. The first once will be about the size of a iPhone, but will be external and wirelessly connected to the brain implants, eventually the size will shrink where it will make sense to mount the thing inside of the head.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Psaakyrn ( 838406 )
      With plugs at the back of the neck so we can tap into our dreams...
    • by cgenman ( 325138 )

      Not to be too pedantic, but isn't that what the internet is? You control something, you produce input, you get output back in. The human-to-computer interface is largely hands and keys, and the computer-to-human interface is a screen.

      You can attach to neurons in the brain to get those keystrokes, though I suspect that won't be that much faster than actually typing. And you can put data back in with this kind of straight neuron stimulation, or the visual kind.

      But in the grand scheme of things, what you've

    • by asnelt ( 1837090 )
      I don't think such a technology would be very popular in the foreseeable future. I mean would you want an implant in your brain that will be outdated after a couple of years? Not to speak of risks that every surgical operation has. Today 5 of 100000 die simply of the general anaesthesia of a surgery. I would imagine that for brain surgeries the mortality rate is even higher.

      For treatment of patients with severe disorders such technologies make a lot of sense. But just mental enhancement? I wouldn't want i

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      The problem with a "cyber brain" is that computers don't think. Computers compute, and store and retrieve data, and that's all they do. Computation is not thought, and thought is far more than storage and retrieval of data.

      A device for storing data would be helpful, sure, but not processing it. I don't need a cyber rifle, one that isn't permanently attached is far superior. I know construction workers, I doubt one would want a nail gin permanently implanted in them. Same with computing devices; a tool doesn

  • No need for implants (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Clueless Nick ( 883532 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:34AM (#33134490) Journal

    Everybody must have seen this video on TED: []

    If you can read the electrical impulses non-intrusively and with a lightweight headgear, and then use an adaptive algorithm to learn an individual's 'fingerprint' brainwave patterns, you can easily use the technology to control everything from powered wheelchairs to those cool animatronic prosthetics developed by the Japanese. Of course, you will also need some corrective algorithms so that empathically generated signals do not start to control the hardware ;)

    • Sense of touch (Score:3, Interesting)

      I was wondering about that ever since watching the robotic prosthetics on NHK and especially the said TED video. Would it be possible to tap into nerves on a patch of skin (e.g. where the missing appendage should have been) and 'train' the brain to read impulses there, rather than directly meddle with it surgically?

      Sci-fi time.

      • Possibly, but it seems to me the neurosurgery required to do that might be more difficult than implanting electrodes in the brain. In the arm, there are three main branches of the brachial plexus that travel the length of the arm, the median, ulnar, and radial nerves, and they all contain both motor and sensory fibers. Making all the connections necessary for natural movement and sense would be an incredibly long and tedious surgery for the motor part alone. I'm not even sure how you would manage do to the
  • I’m one step closer to getting a super strong left arm; with a Cigarette lighter inside the thumb; fold away bottle opener; phone on the palm of my hand; and an electric screwdriver inside the ring finger.
  • Does the arm cost 6 Million dollars, or do we get a full set for that amount? []

    • by RDW ( 41497 )

      'Does the arm cost 6 Million dollars, or do we get a full set for that amount?'

      Well, $34.5M / 5 subjects = $6.9M, but the full set will cost you an arm and a leg.

  • I love the work in this field but Modular Prosthetic Limb or 'MPL' doesn't really fit the usage. Functional Arm Prosthetic or 'FAP' might be better.

    • Functional Arm Prosthetic or 'FAP' might be better.

      I doubt that the market for people who have literally wanked their arms off will be that great. Then again, this is slashdot...

  • "What? I thought we agreed on total body prosthesis, now lose the arm okay!"
  • Practice on a hot dog first.

  • Welcome to the future.

    I know it's been a long road for some, and far too delayed for others, but the future is here. Alas, I regret to inform you that a complete direct neural interface is still a ways off, and neural replication far beyond. The reaper will still take his due for us all.
    But a toast to all those who helped haul humanity into the future, kicking and screaming all the way. I only wish I could have helped more.
  • Thanks to the plasticity of the brain and modern technology (not to mention where we're apparently going), it is entirely possible to shove organic-friendly electrodes into many parts of the brain and slowly learn how to "output" to them and understand the significance of "input".

    This (output) was successfully tested on a man who was completely paralyzed and given the power to use a cursor on a computer and "push" a button. It took him a while to accomplish and the "how" is a little sketchy, but it certainl

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can you use this for additional limbs?

    I currently (touch wood) have 2 arms, but having a third or even fourth would be great.

    Could our brains handle the input for additional limbs, and is our skeleton adaptable enough to support the additional weight and torque?

  • So many things that "they" say "there's no such thing" about are coming to pass in our lifetimes: lotions that grow hair, aphrodisiacs, invisibility, losing fat from only one part of your body, and now telekinesis. And if you confront someone that it's now possible, they say "Oh, liposuction's not the same thing AT ALL. I meant losing fat from only one of your body BY EXERCISE."

    Well, actually, no, that's not what you said. You said there's no such thing as losing fat from one part of your body, period. S
  • As Usual (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by twmcneil ( 942300 )
    I'm not even going to try to read TFA. All I can think of is Dr. Strangelove.
    • by neminem ( 561346 )
      Funny, I'm just thinking of Inspector Gadget. How long before we get thought-controlled binoculars, an umbrella, roller skates, extra arms, a helicopter...? (Cause I would totally purchase this.)
  • How long it has taken, I remember reading on /. for the first time in 2001 about a monkey they hooked up to some robotic arm and used a wire mesh interface for his brain which had been peeled do experiments with moving the robotic arm.
    We are now 10 years later and finally they are going to test this using humans....took long enough, especially with all the considerable advantages this could have for society....

    This is the only problem I find, either not enough funding for the important things, or

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll