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Medicine Science Technology

Bionic Body Parts For the Disabled 25

DeviceGuru writes "An interesting 11-minute PBS News Hour video demonstrates several bionics projects that use high-tech robotics technology to create artificial body parts capable of assisting people with disabilities. The video demonstrates a robotic exoskeleton called eLegs, an artificial arm that gets wired into up to the user's nerves, a robotic arm operated by a monkey that's now going into human trials, special glasses that provide bionic eyesight for the visually impaired, and a runner with prosthetic legs who hopes to compete in the 2012 Olympics."

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Bionic Body Parts For the Disabled

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  • by luckytroll ( 68214 ) on Monday July 04, 2011 @08:15AM (#36651458) Homepage

    Who wants an arm that occasionally throws feces at people. Quite embarassing, and all you can say is "Sorry foks, my bionic arm is controlled by a monkey, and hes pissed today"

  • Special Olympics (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'm thinking that in 20 odd years the Special Olympics will be a hell of a lot more fun to watch than the regular Olympics.

    • Imagine if someone hacked their limbs to randomly produce a force an order of magnitude greater than expected. There's something about paraplegics accidentally launching themselves across a stadium that makes me giggle even on a Monday morning.
    • by rdnetto ( 955205 )

      I'm thinking would they even be allowed? The justifications for not allowing steroids are pretty much the same as those for not allowing prosthetics - it becomes less about individual ability and more about the technology.

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Monday July 04, 2011 @08:50AM (#36651570)

    Lift up a huge boulder with one outstretched arm (seemingly defying the laws of physics/balance)

    How about running in slow motion (faster than a car)

    I suppose it would cost 600 million of todays dollars :(

    • $600 billion according to the video, if you account for inflation.
  • MEMO

    TO: Director OSI
    CC: Dr Rudy Wells

    Due to the ever increasing price of healthcare, the cost of the "Bionic Man" project is expected to exceed our projected amount.
    Congress has refused to extend our budget
    Please inform Colonel Austin that he will now instead be fitted with a bionic big toe and a pair of sunglasses
  • In all seriousness, I think the future holds great promise for artificial limbs. At the same time we advance robotics for use in construction, industry, and service jobs, this tech translates directly back to "poor boy crippled in car accident by drunk driver can now walk". And that is a good future.

    On a lighter note, nice to know that when the AI takes over and the robots march on us, it'll be good to have a few who are 'armed' (hehe) like Will Smith in I, Robot that can save us all :P

  • I wonder when we will see "awesome prostetchic p3n1s" spams

  • Dear Science:

    I would like the following to be accomplished as soon as possible:

    1. Please hook up four of those robotic arms to my brain, and mount the arms on my back.
    2. Please develop replacement parts for every piece of the human body, and then put them all together to make a completely artificial person.


  • by blahblahwoofwoof ( 2287010 ) on Monday July 04, 2011 @01:31PM (#36653960)
    My spouse is an above-knee amputee that wears a good prosthetic clocking in at over $90k. And that's just for one. A spare with lesser parts? $60k. These folks being shown with multiple versions (running, walking, swimming, etc) are sponsored or are wealthy. It's great to see the advancements, but the stuff being shown is $1 million plus or prototyped - they are *not* off-the-shelf. And let's not even get started with trying to get an insurance company to cover them.
    • I've always wondered why they're so expensive, do you have any insight to that?
      Taking a completely uneducated look at some of the stuff I would have guessed 1 grand to cover parts and maybe 5 grand to cover R&D per sale, which comes in as 1/10th of what you are unfortunately being charged.
      So what does it come down to?

      Lack of economies of scale, parts or research cost actually being relative to the price, liability, hope from the manufacturer that they can charge it to insurance companies, or just the ma

      • I can only guess, but I think it's the return on the R&D costs plus liability estimates and the low production volume. My spouse has an Otto Bock C-Leg. The cost now is in the $30k to low-$40k range, primarily because many above-knee amputees from Iraq and Afghanistan are getting them - a really perverse "cost goes down as volume increases" curve. :(
  • this shit should have been commonplace 20 years ago. huury up with the cyborgs alreadY!!!

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.