Monday, June 20, 2016

Cyborgs Aren't Just For RPGs Anymore

A while ago I wrote up a post titled Replacing Lost Limbs With Magical Prosthetics in Pathfinder, and it's received a fair bit of attention since it first went up. However, anyone who's watched the news knows that we've had cybernetic prosthetic limbs for a while now. They're far from commonplace, and by the standards of most science fiction the technology we're working with is still in its early stages. The point is, though, that we have the technology to allow those who are missing body parts to replace them with fully-functioning robotic limbs, which are controlled via electrical impulses from the nervous system. There are even some models that provide feedback, letting the owner feel with their prosthetic limbs.

Then there's this guy.

That is not a cosplay. But if it was, it would be the most authentic one you'd ever seen.
That magnificent fellow is James Young, and according to IFL Science he had an unfortunate encounter with a train in 2012. This led to his left foot being severed and, to save his life, his left arm being amputated. Young is a biological scientist, and an avid gamer, which explains part of what happened next.

The Alternative Limb Project, and specifically designer Sophie de Oliveira Barata, gave James this new lease on life. The limb, which was designed in part with input from Konami, is meant to resemble the cybernetic arm sported by franchise leader Solid Snake. However, James's model also has a smartwatch in the wrist, and a drone that can launch from the shoulder.

While the limb is extremely impressive, and carries a $9,000 price tag, James is hoping to take things one step further. A procedure called an osseointegration will install a titanium implant that will adhere the prosthetic directly to James's bone. This would bring him one step closer to having two, totally independent arms once more.

If that's the sort of project you'd like to get behind, there's still a Go Fund Me going for this procedure.

In Other News

While Mr. Young sports an edgy, new future look, there is another amputee who's rocking something a little more old school. French tattoo artist JC Sheitan Tenet lost his right hand 22 years ago, and as such has done tattoos exclusively with his left hand. Or that was true, until he got together with an engineer friend of his, and designed something that might have come right out of New Avalon.

You didn't know how badly you needed a tattoo until just now.
According to Geek, this machine is fully functional. However, it currently lacks the fluid motion of a real hand. While adding a wrist joint and additional control may change that, the prosthetic is more than versatile enough for shading and basic line work. For more detailed stuff, the artist still has a fully functional, and extremely talented, left hand.

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