People are cyborgs among us: the era of super abilities

© Fotolia / vchalupУправление bionic hand with a headset virtual realityPeople are cyborgs among us: the era of super abilities© Fotolia / vchalup

Valery Spiridonov, the first candidate for a head transplant, talks about why people have always sought to give «extra» limbs and the development of technology augmentation can turn not only the economy but all of human life.

From Ancient Egypt to modern Japan

Since the dawn of civilization, mankind has sought to improve lives and expand possibilities of the human body. People tried to compensate for limited physical data with special devices.

The history of prosthetics dates back to the times of Ancient Egypt. The mummies preserved from those times was discovered the prosthesis of the big toe. Made about three thousand years ago, the artificial finger was attached to the foot with a leather clutch and helped to maintain stability during walking.

In ancient Egyptian reliefs also common image of dentists with pliers. And the classic image of a pirate is a man with a wooden leg and often with an iron hook instead of a hand. Hook had the advantage in close combat and was one of the first examples of bionic enhancement.

However, the first prosthetic legs and arms, as well as dental implants in a greater degree was a fake. They are not allowed to fully recover the amount of human physical abilities.

Augmentation of man creates supermen

Today, prosthetic limbs, insertion of pacemakers, hearing AIDS and dental implants came into wide medical practice.

With the development of technology, a new kind of prosthetic augmentation. Augmentation is not just the replacement of lost body, but also the acquisition of super-powers, previously not peculiar to man.

Carlson, Superman, spider-Man, Terminator, fantastic four fantastic comics, movies, and stories about people endowed with extraordinary abilities, now coming to reality.

And many do not even think that time has come and the terminators and humans-cyborgs have become part of our society.

Formed and a separate direction of development of high technology that combines medicine and robotics, biomechatronics.

Cybernetic arm

Prosthetic human hands is far from a full replacement in terms of function.

The most advanced prosthetic arm developed by Luca Arm Mibius Bionic commissioned by DARPA, the Agency defense advanced development of the United States. The prosthesis detects and recognizes the signals from the electromyographic electrodes attached to the muscles to perform certain commands. Feature a variety of settings the device allows you to work with fragile and heavy items and perform complex actions, for example to clean a teeth.

However, existing prosthetic hands are designed to partially replace lost functions and does not have another liberatemi.

Legs cyborg

Bionic leg prostheses, in addition to motor function, needs to provide effective cushioning. These engineering tasks decided in the American Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Created prosthesis consists of sensors that determine the position of the legs in space and motors performing the motion. On the battery artificial leg capable of up to three days.

The mit Professor Hugh Herr invented an alternative prosthetic Foot Power. He lost both legs and suffers from dentures for yourself. The main feature is the ability to mimic the pressure of a human foot and to cushion the walk. Kiberege own much easier, while holds up to 130 pounds, allow you to dance, to run, to climb to the top, catching the signals from the brain. In addition, these limbs are equipped with sensors that analyze the road surface.


Functionally a superset of the lower-limb prosthesis are exoskeletons. Most major manufacturers exoskeletons — Indеgo in the U.S., ReWalk in Israel, Hybrid Assistive Limb, and the Ekso Bionic in Japan. The approximate cost of the exoskeleton is from 75 to 120 thousand euros. Projects on development of exoskeletons are being conducted in parallel in other countries.

A team of robotics Russia «Actually» creates their own equivalent of exoskeletons since 2011. Designed for use in clinics ExoAtlet I provided a wide range of possibilities thanks to the computer control system, sensors and selecting muscle stimulation by electric impulses.

In medical centers of Russia, the company is testing a free program of rehabilitation patients with impaired functions of the lower extremities after injuries and various illnesses with the help of ExoAtlet I.

The exoskeleton Rex Bionics, the New Zealand, allows people with paralyzed lower limbs to walk, leaving the hands free.

Device aktiviziruyutsya with the joystick, is small for this design, the weight is about 38 pounds, and can withstand user weights up to 100 pounds.

Superman or Carlson? It’s all in the costume

An example of an exoskeleton that gives the person superpowers is the XOS 2 from the American company Raytheon. This robocolum that allows you to lift the weight two to three times more than it can raise an ordinary man.

These inventions are most often used in military and intelligence structures, but they can be used in construction, and with heavy physical works to reduce the load on the spine and muscles.

Another company, Trek Aerospace, has given exoskeleton flying functions. Built-in jet engine will allow the device to reach speeds in flight up to 112 kilometers per hour and still hang in the air. Fly, overtaking traffic jams or stopping at traffic lights, perhaps, many would now. And with such speed, of course, better to have and cybertronia.


There are many projects to create eye implants, allowing to provide full compensation for lost vision.

People are cyborgs among us: the era of super abilities© RIA Novostiall: bionic eye helps us to uncover the mystery of the work siniavinskie eyes of the company of the German company Alpha IMS, perhaps the most interesting of those devices that has managed to pass clinical trials. The prosthesis includes 1,500 electrodes that is placed under the retina. Currently technology allows you to distinguish between faces of people and read quite a few major labels.

Most closer to eye function robotic prostheses has been the developers of the company Ocumetics Technology, has created a bionic lenses. Bionic Lens replaces the natural lens through cataract surgery.

Lenses have dynamic properties: connecting with the muscles of the eyes, they samofokusirovka at different distances. Due lenses visual acuity will increase up to 30 meters, and at short distances, people will be able to see more than the microscope.

People are cyborgs among us: the era of super abilities© Photo : Second Sight Medical Products, Inc.Doctors have successfully completed clinical trials of a «bionic eye» Argus One of the unique advantages of these CyberLink that people, using the bionic lens spends a hundred times less energy than when operating their own eyes. And, accordingly, does not experience fatigue after hard work. The next couple of years, the company plans to start mass production of the lenses.

Plan and later upgrade the device. In the future, the retina will receive the smartphone interface and implemented direct supply of medicines. In connection with the improvement of technology of prosthetics a large spread of similar operations and among people without any restrictions.

Experimental augmentation

Whether the person who has no physical limitations, set has a CVI for the acquisition of new skills?

On this the followers of the morning are unlikely to reflect seriously, but there are brave souls who voluntarily installs implants, having no particular value or doubtful useful.

© RIA Novosti / Kirill to Kallinikova in potamocorbula people with disabilities «Cimatron» in Moscow People are cyborgs among us: the era of super abilities© RIA Novosti / Kirill to Kallinikova in potamocorbula people with disabilities «Cimatron» in Moscow
Sleight of hand or chip hacking

Attracted the interest of appearing smart cyberliteracy with electrodes Tech Tats. They are able to produce a pressure measurement, body temperature. Planned expansion device functions to partial replacement of the smartphone. When applied to the throat tattoo can be used as a microphone. But why has a CVI implant into the body, if such device it’s a phone and a fitness bracelet?

There was a whole culture of people bohaterow, interest in experimenting with the augmentation of my own body.

People are cyborgs among us: the era of super abilities© Fotolia / vetkitВсе in your hands: how to become a cyborg in one minututan, a new use got chips radio frequency recognition — RFID chips. They are involved in many spheres of everyday life and are present in all travel tickets in the subway and in the labels on the products in the store.

The daredevil, named Amal Graafstra decided to expand their use, inserting yourself one chip in each hand. With their help, he easily opens the door of the house, the car and comes into your account in the global network.

Another example: resourceful Finnish programmer who lost finger in accident, replaced it on the flash drive volume of two gigabytes. Externally, the implant looks like a prosthetic finger, and when removing the cover there is a convenient flash device, which not lost and always at hand.

The name of the law

Currently, the implantation of chips or other devices into the human body is not legally regulated in Russia and most other countries. At the moment, such procedures yet equate to the piercing.

However, biochips are already massively used in some foreign companies as a corporate magnetic gaps, allowing you to improve security level.

People are cyborgs among us: the era of super abilities© Photo : Lieber Research Group, Harvard UniversityУченые implanted in the brain of animals biochip, constantly watching their maslyanino even minimal augmentation can cause some side effects. For example, when the magnetic contact of the chip with another magnet implant begins to rotate under the skin, causing a painful sensation. And when using the technique of the finger with the chip to start to vibrate. And, of course, possible allergic reactions and rejection of the implant. Moreover, any augmentation of the body are more difficult to diagnose because it eliminates the possibility of tomography.

Despite this, the obvious and enormous benefits of cyborgization. A technology cyberprotection unique in issues of domestic and international security. But their practical application is every year becoming more accessible to the masses.

A variety of robotic prostheses to compensate for physical limitations and to experience a completely different level of possibilities. The ability to perceive one’s own body as a functional organism used for solving many problems, creates a generation of people-cyborgs with new values and ideas about life.