Sat here in the office with bloggers-block, I was thinking of interesting things to write about in the Aspect IT blog. I thought about how technology is being augmented into our body to provide functionality to damaged parts of us. This made me think about how our bodies are slowly but surely becoming more and more entangled with technology.
In the news at the moment are a couple of stories that have captured my imagination, firstly Claire Lomas, a horse rider who became paralysed whilst competing is aiming to complete the London Marathon using a robot skeleton, and Robin Miller, a man who became blind 25 years ago who is taking part in a trail which involves him having a chip inserted into the back of his eyes in an attempt for him to see again.
I am a fan of science fiction and such am fascinated by androids in the programmes I watch, from R2-D2 and CP30 in Star Wars to Commander Data in Star Trek the fantasy of androids has given us some pretty impressive feats of engineering, their unparalleled strength and computational power is something which will never be a reality in our lifetime.
The technologies used by Mrs Lomas and Mr Miller are real and available right now. To think that an individual who has suffered such life changing injuries having being paralysed can walk again (even with the aid of the robotic legs) is amazing. The independence must be so liberating and to complete the London Marathon is truly inspirational.
It is the story of Robin Millar that has intrigued me the most. Whilst the robot legs are no less revolutionary, they are somewhat noticeable. The beauty of the optic implant is that half of it is behind the eyeball and the other half is hidden away, to look at the man you would not know what technology was lurking inside his head. It is this that to me is amazing. The ability to even partially correct the failings of the human eye with a light sensor only 3mm square is brilliant.
I hope the day never comes when technologies such as these are used to improve and replace functional aspects of the human body, but to give back these little freedoms to those so cruelly affected in these ways is in itself a triumph of technology.
Mrs Lomas is currently 7 days away from completing her marathon.