Robotic C-leg for humans
Getting a leg up, thanks to robotic limbs By Michel Marriott The New York Times. An interesting piece about a new trend: incorporating new technologies into the body. It's about Cameron Clapp new robotic legs.
For people who see Cameron Clapp for the first time, he is an object of wonderment: a young man walking tall on shiny robotic legs. (...) Clapp lost both his legs above the knee and his right arm just short of his shoulder after falling onto train tracks almost five years ago near his home in Grover Beach, California. After years of rehabilitation and trying a series of prosthetics, each more technologically sophisticated than the last, he finally found his legs. (...) In the last few years, technology has definitely been on his side, in the form of the C-Leg. Introduced by Otto Bock HealthCare, a German company that makes advanced prosthetics, the C-Leg combines computer technology with hydraulics. It literally does the walking for the walker. Blazing advancements, including lightweight composite materials, keener sensors and tiny programmable microprocessors are restoring remarkable degrees of mobility to amputees. (...) "There is a kind of cyborg consciousness, a fluidity at the boundaries of what is flesh and what is machine, that has happened behind our backs," said Sherry Turkle, director of the Initiative on Technology and Self at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is writing a book on robots and culture. "The notion that your leg is a machine part and it is exposed, that it is an enhancement, is becoming comfortable in the sense that it can be made a part of you."
Why do I blog this? the article is worth reading, it summarizes the crux issues raised by this kind of technology and its impact. Besides, I am wondering when handicapped will do better performance in competition with such devices. Update! regine just pointed me on this article about artificial legs, which is... intriguing: The ethics of amputation by choice "People should be able to have healthy limbs removed by choice, say two Australian philosophers who are exploring the phenomenon of "amputee wannabes".".