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Bionic Body Parts For the Disabled

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the robot-hands dept.

Medicine 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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What about (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36651440)

Bionic Brains for Niggers and Wiggers?!

*Insert Bionic Brain* ... *Subject Awakens* ... "wow, I've been speaking Ebonics and celebrating violence and drug abuse all my life, just like the worst gutter trash of society. What a moron I've been, wasting my life on unworthy things like racial sensitivity and East Side vs West Side and whether OJ did it. Damn. Maybe I should better myself, get an education, become a productive member of society, raise a family in which the children know their father. What an idea. Is that acting too white? Nah, it isn't, it's acting decent. Wow. Thanks for the new bionic brain!"

Why would I want an arm operated by a monkey? (4, Funny)

luckytroll (68214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36651458)

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"

Re:Why would I want an arm operated by a monkey? (4, Funny)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#36651470)

The bionic brains of politicians are already operated by monkeys for years. That is why they talk sense once in a while. It is only natural to extend that success to other implants.

Re:Why would I want an arm operated by a monkey? (1)

Fauntleroy (920987) | more than 3 years ago | (#36651548)

Then again it's an excellent excuse to do some groping. "Sorry, my hand has a mind of its own! A monkey mind, to be exact."

Re:Why would I want an arm operated by a monkey? (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36651734)

It would, however, always provide an interesting topic of conversation.

Re:Why would I want an arm operated by a monkey? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36652100)

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"

Yet another hazard for jailers -- transonic turds.

Special Olympics (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36651520)

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.

Re:Special Olympics (2)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 3 years ago | (#36651628)

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.

Re:Special Olympics (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36658468)

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.

Re:Special Olympics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36675348)

Paralympics, not Special Olympics. Please don't confuse the two or this guy might beat your ass: []

Can I (2)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 :(

Re:Can I (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36651762)

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

Re:Can I (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36651878)

Except they are comparing two different things. The six million was the cost of Steve's parts and the surgery, not the development costs. They even joked that Jamie's parts were cheaper (cost about 4 million) because they were smaller. And then there was the Seven Million Dollar Man, who cost more because he had all four limbs replaced.

Re:Can I (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36656666)

what a bargain, since it was explained in the show that the bionic people's parts had atomic power plants. you'd think that any nuclear system that could put out a few kilowatts but not heat the host had to be worth more than a few millions in itself.

Memo (2)

negatonium (1103503) | more than 3 years ago | (#36651794)


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

Not all robots are bad! (1)

gyaku_zuki (1778282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36651896)

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

Looking for a suitable solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36651944)

I got a cousin who has muscular dystrophy in mumbai india.. weighs 200 pounds approx.
been looking at stair chairs , exo skeletons but no affordable solution has come in yet..

looks like people love to develop exotic stuff, makes economic sense..
since disability implements are specialized requirements they can never be mass produced. so no hope for prices to come down
i am hoping that some ingenious indian somewhere will encounter this problem and then because of lack of resources (aka money) will develop an equivalent of the jaipur foot for stair chairs.
i have my fingers crossed

Non essential use (1)

i ate my neighbour (1756816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36652016)

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

Dear Science: I have two requests. (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 3 years ago | (#36653614)

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.


Don't assume they're inexpensive (3, Informative)

blahblahwoofwoof (2287010) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Don't assume they're inexpensive (1)

bug_hunter (32923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36657372)

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 manufacturers taking advantage of supply and demand?

Re:Don't assume they're inexpensive (1)

blahblahwoofwoof (2287010) | more than 3 years ago | (#36657434)

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. :(

common interfaces/operating system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655488)

Am I the only one that sees the need for a common operating system for these prosthetics? Or at least a common API?

come already (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36657424)

this shit should have been commonplace 20 years ago. huury up with the cyborgs alreadY!!!

Is that arm controlled by ARM? (1)

Ramin_HAL9001 (1677134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36772288)

Or is it Intel, MIPS, AMD, or what? I would hope its an ARM arm.
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