May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Amazing Robotic Prosthetic Arm

 This is truly amazing. A company, Deka, have created a mechanical prosthetic arm that does almost everything that a biological arm can do, including providing feedback to the wearer about pressure. There is, in me (and I'd imagine in many people), a fear of cybernetic technology. With this innovation, there is beauty to be seen in it. A few of the test pilots for these arms are amputees, and the joy and empowerment that shows in them as a result of wearing and using these arms really makes it seem worth it.

My questions: When these prosthetics become available commercially, I wonder how much they'll really cost. My guess is somewhere in the $20-30k range for several years. The initial impetus behind the drive to produce these arms is because so many vets are coming back from Iraq with lost limbs. Now that there have been improvements in body armor and medical technology, they survive, but lose limbs.

However, as somebody who supports the troops, I have to ask.... If the U.S. government is denying basic aid to veterans when they return, or making it really difficult for them to file claims and prove their disabilities, how much are they really going to spend on these limbs for the vets? My cynical (and likely accurate) guess is that these arms will be available to those who can buy them outright, and to those who are fortunate enough to get through all the red tape, becoming the poster child to put a pleasant face on our recovery from war.

Further, I would suggest that these arms might make adequate replacements for the lost limbs, but most of those receiving them would probably rather still have their natural arms. In the future, however, these kind of replacements will become more prevalent, and better integrated in with human tissue. Then it will get strange, especially if they are available to those with the monetary wherewithal. It may be a while, but when 70-year olds are sprinting around the track on bionic legs, that will be weird.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

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