Europe - The age of ultrabodies
Cybernetics shows its human side
Photos: Gabriele Guida
Cybernetic men are among us. They have been imagined in endless sci-fi tales and movies, but they have habits and faces similar to anyone in the neighbourhood. Any categorisation was cancelled and made impossible thanks to the amazing results obtained in Europe by organizations and universities that focused their researches on prostheses and cybernetics.
Muscles and electrodes are one in the German labs of Ottobocks company, while for the technicians of the Italian Itop even stairs are no more an obstacle, as they can count on the powerful bionic knees they produce and sell. The wheelchair of the Scewo project (a project of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) can win any stair with its amazing caterpillars. In Berlin, ReWalk's exoskeletons give back strenght and mobility to bodies with injured spinal cords. Want more? Wireless connections between brain and spinal column, legs for kids with deformities made with 3D printers. No matter the solution found: its more and more clear that loosing a limb doesnt mean disability anymore, but an enhancement of the abilities of a person. The wonder of grabbing an object again, the pride of running on the road equipped with highly sophisticated levers will replace the bewilderment of not recognising yourself and the desperation of being no more able to do what you used to. While similar to the original, an artificial hand or a prosthesis for a leg will be a new hand, foot or leg once they give back the same feeling of grabbing, touching, fully being in the environment your body is.
Man 2.0 will be real, then. And those labs with prototypes on their walls and artificial limbs of all kind on their shelves will be no more the doors to an unavoidable social alienation, but gates to enter a world where dream and reality can meet. Right near home.