Just yesterday, we reported quite the incredible advancement in prosthetics technology: the ability to control prosthetics with the brain using implanted electrodes. This work is very exciting for anyone who is missing a limb; in the near future they may be able to control their prosthetic limbs in the same, natural way we all control our limbs now. What may be even more exciting is a new material developed by scientists at MIT and Harvard University that could replace artificial muscles in all modern prosthetics.
The material was inspired by origami and is quite the feat of modern science. The muscle itself can lift up to a thousand times its own weight, which is incredible enough, but what may be more important is that the same muscle can also be used to grip and raise a delicate flower without damaging the flower. This kind of dexterity may seem trivial, but this is a precise skill that takes years for any human being to master. This combined with the power to lift incredible weights makes for a flexible material that could create the most useful artificial muscles the world has ever seen. This could be a life-changing material for anyone who requires prosthetic limbs to live their life.
One has to wonder what the public outcry will be as we see these new technologies be put into practice. When these artificial muscles are put into a prosthetic arm, that human will be able to lift quite a great deal of weight. Assuming these advancements aren’t slowing anytime soon, we may soon see a time where human athletes are unable to compete against their cyborg counterparts. These fears are not new in our society – there has always been backlash against any true progress – but we are at a time where these fears are likely in a few short years.