July 1, 2017
The hottest new robot arms can pick-up eggs.
— Sonia Rincón (@SoniaRincon) June 30, 2017
— Sonia Rincón (@SoniaRincon) June 30, 2017
This is fantastic and there is one very clear takeaway.
Two retired army veterans who lost their arms more than 40 years ago have received revolutionary prosthetic limbs developed by the Pentagon. Their new futuristic arms, which are named after Luke Skywalker, can pick up small objects as fragile as an egg.
“Stirring with this, I’m cutting with that, dicing,” Fred Downs said, as cited by CBS news. Downs lost his left arm below the elbow after being injured in the Vietnam War.
“It’s the fun part of being able to use two hands to get all the vegetables prepared, and the meat prepared, and start the grill, and hold plates,” he continued.
The second recipient, Artie McAuley, a retired Army captain who lost his left arm in a car accident, was also thrilled to receive his new limb.
Yeah but if he lost the arm in a car accident then he isn’t actually a wo –
I’m happy he got it.
I’m assuming there was no one who lost a limb in a war who wanted one and didn’t get one because of him.
In order to lift the arm, an amputee has to lift his foot. Sensors in the wearer’s shoes then pick up the motion and put the prosthetic limb into action.
Yeah, it’s not hooked into the nervous system yet. A form of neural implant that will allow bi-directional input – that is, using your brain to control the limb as you would a real limb, and having feeling sent back from it as a real limb would – is being developed alongside the limbs themselves. MIT is working on it, among others.
The robotics and the neural interface are two totally different things, being worked on by totally different scientists and engineers. It’s been a while since I’ve read up on it, but the last time I checked, they were progressing steadily and are able to send more and more complex input from the nervous system (of some poor monkey) into a digital system.
Way back in 2014, Swedes attached a robot arm to the nervous system, but it didn’t have anywhere near the dexterity of the ones in the above videos.
It was all the way back in 2008 – before half of this site’s readership was even born – that they attached a monkey’s brain to an arm.
Of course, it isn’t practical to punch a hole in a human’s brain and insert wires just yet. They’ve tested it on paraplegics though. I’m not sure where that’s at.
It’s a shame the research is going so slow, but we have more pressing issues to deal with, such as closing the pay gap for women and renaming university buildings that were named for white people.
What good are cyborgs in a world riddled with sexism and racism?
“You have to be smart to do this,” McAuley said, as cited by AFP. “Once in a while, I make a mistake!”
Both showed off their new arms at a veterans’ hospital called the VA New York Harbor Health Care System in New York. Downs used his new thumb and index finger to peel a banana.
“These may seem like very simple, routine things, but to someone who can’t do it, to be able to be given this function it’s like magic,” said Downs.
The prosthetics are dubbed LUKE, an acronym for Life Under Kinetic Evolution. They were partially named after the Star Wars character Luke Skywalker, who needed a prosthetic arm after fighting Darth Vader.
According to the website of Mobius Bionics, the company that manufactured the limb, LUKE is “configurable for different levels of amputation, including transradial, transhumeral, and shoulder disarticulation.”
The arm has 10 powered joints that can be moved at the same time and at least four different grips, the statement from the website says.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a US Department of Defense agency that develops technologies for military use, and DEKA Research & Development Corporation contributed to the development of the mechanism.
The limbs give “unprecedented, near-natural arm and hand motion,” a DARPA press release says.
“The LUKE system has a fully functional, articulated shoulder joint, which offers unprecedented mobility and quality of life even for individuals with total arm loss,” the statement adds.
If you melded this with some kind of functional neural interface, you would have a very nice cyborg arm.
Robotics technology and automation is going to change the entire nature of our society, and it is developing behind the scenes, without people paying much attention.
This industry is going to be massive – it will in fact swallow up other industries. An entirely new economy will be needed to deal with the emergence of this new wave of machines. No one has yet agreed on what this economy will even look like, and it is going to be extremely difficult to figure out.
It is actually somewhat frightening that it hasn’t been thought about more.
However, there is one thing everyone agrees on: we need more third world immigrants.
Syrian refugees from Pakistan, Somalia, Sierra Leon, Honduras – bring them all in, and do it fast, because we’re gonna need as many as we can get.
I mean, just think for a minute about the reality of self-driving semi-trucks.
This technology is all 100% ready to go, we’re just waiting on government regulatory boards, effectively.
We’re going to be building all new trucks to replace the ones on the road. It’s going to be a lot of work to build these trucks. Then, of course, you’re going to need a fleet of mechanics to maintain these new vehicles.
Because white women decided they would rather spend their teens and twenties fucking hundreds of men and going to art school or working at a bank, we simply don’t have enough people to build and maintain robots.
And Americans don’t even want to build robots.
We need Syrian refugees from everywhere in the world to do the jobs Americans don’t want to do: design and build robots.