Robot Parts (TQP0120)
It’s a fact of life during wartime that as we see more veterans missing limbs, we’re going to see advancements in prosthetic capabilities on that front. New devices like the i-Limb have dozens of grip patterns. It’s a far cry from pincer-hooks.
But replacement parts have begun moving past function, into capability-enhancers. We’ve grown comfortable with the image of performance-specific prosthetics in sports, after all.
Now we’re on the cusp of designing replacements for the information age. Which, you have to admit, is pretty groovy. We’re at a point at the future where we can make replacement parts frivolous.
A San Francisco-based artist who lost an eye in a 2005 accident is requesting a prosthetic replacement – with web-cam capabilities. Engineers are all over it, most of whom point out the technology is mostly available, since nanny and webcams can be built to eye-sized specs. (heh).
No story I’ve read yet has explained how they’ll pull off her more sci-fi-based request – that zoom and dilate with changes of light and allow her to blink to control its zoom, focus, and on/off switch. Though it was pointed out that by wirelessly connecting with a mobile device, a lot of these features can be controlled with ease.
So yeah: basically, we can build cybernetic eyes for people. If not now, then within the next couple of years.
The real question is: How Do You Pay For It? And that’s where things get interesting. Because it’s where the future we were promised bumps right up against the future you never see coming:
She’s considering shooting a reality TV show from her eye’s perspective.
And just like that, vlogs became marginally more interesting.
William Gibson explained that he stopped writing “science fiction” per se because he couldn’t possibly predict the future at the rate it changes the way it looks. And this is what he means.
This is a microcosm of the future we live in every day: a world where we can make cyborgs. But the most obvious application for their resulting extranormal abilities is a TV show.
Which is not me making a judgment or wagging my finger. Just pointing out how damn unpredictable the 21st century is shaping up to be.