Segway inventor Dean Kamen was asked by the US government to work on a bionic arm that would weigh no more than a regular human arm and could be used to pick up a grape without crushing it and pick up a raisin without dropping it. The video does not go into any detail but the arm appears to work via signals from the brain as well as send tactile feedback to the brain. He calls it the “Luke arm” after Luke Skywalker’s arm from Star Wars.
What does that mean for improved human performance? It seems it’d be possible to improve it, as in The Bionic Man and The Bionic Woman 70’s TV shows (“we can rebuild him…. stronger than before… etc.). Already, amputee athlete, the “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius, is seen by some folks as having an advantage over other athletes in running since his calves can’t tire and his blades absorb shock better than a human ankle.
What about interfacing the arm (and through it, the brain) to computers? From an earlier article
that covers these projects including Kamen’s involvement:
Kuniholm is all for augmenting the natural abilities of his missing hand. When a visitor commented that the Proto 2 hand’s lack of side-to-side motion in the wrist might make it difficult to operate a computer mouse, Kuniholm replied, “Why do I need a mouse? Why can’t I plug my arm right into a USB port?”
Whoa. The soldiers’ injuries are terrible but an age of cyborgs is apparently rapidly arriving. Beyond that, the military’s dream is human limb regeneration. Technology’s accelerating pace is unbelievable. Kamen’s quote in the video on the Yahoo! page on how quickly humans can adopt it and that this rate is not accelerating is very interesting. Kamen has also been working on a device that purifies water while generating power and an organization to encourage kids to study science by organizing fun sporting event-like competitions. The former would seem especially helpful for the water crisis and sustainability issues, and the latter for all kinds of problems.