Medical Is this possible in the future?

  1. In the near future, say 50 years from now, is it possible to have prosthetic bodies that can replace limbs and organs? Is it possible that it is a key to immortality? I am very curious that if we replace all our our organs with machines (hence beomcing a cyborg), then can we become immortal?
  2. jcsd
  3. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    How can anyone answer that? It is in the future!!!

    I think the biggest question to answer is can you replace the brain with something else and still be "alive" or yourself or whatnot.
  4. I don't want to wait until 2099...
  5. Probably not - brain tissue does decay on its own. Generally speaking, as we extend human life expectancy, we uncover new problems. For example, Parkinsons didn't really even exist several hundreds of years ago when the life expectancy was around 40.
  6. Danger

    Danger 9,663
    Gold Member

    I think that 50 years is overkill. Over 30 years ago, I began designing prosthetics. That was before I specialized in prosthetic FX makeup. At the time, the state-of-the-art was the "British Hand" that was regulated by a couple of Schmidt triggers governed by force clamps and velocity clamps. Official state-of-the-art, that is.
    Regardless, the things that are being done now, with modern electronics and computer technology, are incredible. I just saw on the news, last week, a paraplegic man walk due to computer-controlled spinal implants. A year ago, that would have been considered ridiculous fiction.
    Dr. Hawking has communicated for over 3 decades longer than he was expected to live, because technology gave him a voice. (I don't know why he's still alive, but the computer is what allows him to communicate expediently.) I don't care whether it's mutation or technology that keeps him alive, or just pure stubbornness; a brain like that is part of a formidable arsenal. The other parts are that he can negotiate peace or design weapons that would make Caligula whimper.
    Communication is what makes civilization possible. However that is accomplished, it is of extreme importance for the continuation of our species.
  7. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Here's a thread recently on the prospect of regenerative medicine for growing organs and the like

    Ask yourself, do we really have the technology to make machines as sophisticated as the biology we have? No pump, however good is better than a heart, no robot arm any better than muscle. This is because any machine we make is not only going to have to do the obvious job of the organ (e.g. beating/contracting) it's also going to have to respond to all the biochemistry going on in a body as well as repair itself, grow, adapt etc. Regenerating organs is a far better route to increased health and longevity.

    P.S, Don't listen to Ray Kurzweil! The man is a crank. He takes one look at Moore's law, applies it to his very limited understanding of biology and then spouts prophesies of mind uploading and AI.
  8. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    Interesting!! I didn't know we had already developed such sophisticated implants! I always wondered though, how do they connect nerve cells to implants? If anyone has a link I'd appreciate it.
  9. Good, I want to change my whole face while i am at it because i am beautily impaired.
  10. sophiecentaur

    sophiecentaur 14,712
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Even the dung beetle's mother thinks it is beautiful!
  11. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    ONLY the dung beetles mother thinks it is beautiful!
  12. sophiecentaur

    sophiecentaur 14,712
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Har har
  13. The prosthetic organs under development are not so much machines as they are regrown organs from your own cells, which are then simply transplanted like any other donated organ. We have a long way to go before we can start redesigning organs. A study of prosthetic legs, as a result of a South African sprinter being banned from competition on the grounds that a prosthetic leg was an unfair advantage, showed that todays prosthetic legs supplied about 9% less force than a real leg on average.
    However, 9% is not a lot for technology to catch up on.

    I would be happy with just some good external prosthetics for people who were not disabled. Since a foot injury a few years back I have been considering designing a prosthetic foot for people with feet. With my injury many people with missing feet have far more functional feet than I do. Before my accident I could walk a 45 degree slope as easily as I could walk across a parking lot, and nearer 75 degrees with other techniques. Today I have to walk sideways and near backwards just to negotiate a 15 degree slope.

    In knowing why it is few people can handle steep slops without falling I think I could design feet that did it all automatically without requiring any effective ankle motion. Simply springs would not work as effectively because at some angle they put disproportionate weight on the top side. Just as people tend to do when they get scared and dig their heals in, which releases the weight distribution across the foot surface resulting in a loss of effective frictional surface.

    I would pay very good money for a good prosthetic foot over foot right now, and even more for a well designed exoskeleton for tree, hill, and rock climbing. What I have in mind would not even require power assist of any kind and would provide a huge amount of protection in the event of a fall. With some hydrofoils and ski attachments you could even ski over water with human power and down slopes horizontally on built in skis. Hooks that would allow you to hang from tree limbs and ledges without any exertion and gaffs that allow climbing trees and obstacles at will. Standard tree gaffs are woefully inefficient, limited in functionality, and downright dangerous with limited points of failure. A good design would allow you to completely relax within the exoskeleton at essentially any point without concern for falling.

    I do not begrudge the attention prosthetic developers give to the disabled, they need it far worse, but there is so much that can be done with recreational prosthetics that seems to be ignored.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  14. Hello, i think that nothing can replace natural limbs, and i would like to share this video of my final year project, we designed a prototype of artificial limb, it still a prototype and cannot replace i think 2% of the natural arm, it takes more than 4 months to develop it in the faculty of engineering of the lebanese university.
  15. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Nice stuff hisham.i this thread popping up again reminded me of an amazing prosthetic reported by BBC news a few months ago. The technology really is coming on amazingly. I'm looking forward to the day that sophisticated prosthetics that can restore function to patients are available, though regenerative medicines offer a better alternative the science and technology is nowhere near the level to start tackling the problem.
  16. From the project that i did, the system is composed mainly of 3 parts:
    1- Acquire the signal
    2- Filter and amplify the signal
    3- Signal classification

    In my case i classified 4 gestures of hand movements, but there was no control for the speed, the angle and even the torque. Each one of these variables needs a detailed study to know which characteristic of the signal is related to the concerned variable.
    On the other hand i don't know if there is new results about restoring sensation, i think this will be more complicated than restoring the motor action of the hand.
  17. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm interested, how did you acquire the signal from an amputee's body?
  18. The control scheme that i used is based on signals acquired from residual muscles, electrodes are placed on the skin above the muscle in order to acquire the signal.
    I attached an image of the electrode connection.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  19. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Interesting stuff! Do you have any plans to take this to a more complex level? I.e. a hand that replicates the function of a biological hand in terms of freedom of movement, digits etc.
  20. What kind of movement can you identify?
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