However, with many companies investing heavily on bionics, it is morphing into something that may not just shape how we look at disability solutions today, but also could drive a future where humans can tap into machines’ superhuman ability.
While machine development has always been about saving humans the effort in accomplishing a task, machines substituting human parts—or even accentuating their function—had not been widely heard of till even just a couple of decades ago. To be sure, the world had some imagination of it—thanks to science fiction and may be even the pace maker and the hearing aid—but bionics wasn’t really something you could expect to encounter outside a lab. However, with many companies investing heavily on bionics, it is morphing into something that may not just shape how we look at disability solutions today, but also could drive a future where humans can tap into machines’ superhuman ability.
Who amongst us, dreading a fast-approaching deadline, hasn’t wished for more extra hands—or at the very least, shot back the very familiar “Well, I happen to have just two hands” at complaints about one’s pace of work ? Youbionic, a US-based start-up that had earlier launched a prosthetic robot hand, is set to make multiple hands a reality with its Double Hand. Double Hand is a prosthetic that you strap on to your forearm and control via sensors taped to your index- and ring-finger—only now, instead of one palm and five fingers on one side of your body, you have two artificial palms and ten artificial fingers controlled by nerve signals relayed from your brain to the sensors via the flesh-and-blood fingers on your biological hand. The prosthetic hands have been demonstrated to lift objects and carry out some tasks simultaneously. Although the hands seem to show limited functionality—they can only grasp or pinch objects—further research will allow them to accomplish much more. Some other companies are focussed on developing bionic prosthetics to aid amputees and even replace certain external body parts.