Cyborg Creation Takes Step Forward | American News Update

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Cyborg Creation Takes Step Forward

Cyborg Creation Takes Step Forward
June 05
15:04 2018

http://spectus.co.uk/homeowner/our-standards/ Who isn’t a science fiction fan? Did you know that a number of the devices portrayed on the original Star Trek television series (1966-1969) inspired investors and researchers to create real working devices? I once attended a talk given by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and learned that originally, the network would not accept the idea of a crew composed of 50% men and 50% women. They finally settled on 70% men and 30% women. He also shared that researchers at universities across the country were busy trying to make function phasers and tricorders used for detecting certain things. Today, there are a number of devices that are a spin off of these fictionalize things.

In the early 1960s, someone coined a term combining cybernetic and organism to form a new concept known as cyborg. According to Dictionary.com, cyborg is defined as:

“a person whose physiological functioning is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electrical device.”

Per that definition, anyone with a pacemaker or insulin pump could technically be referred to as a cyborg. However, we generally think of the Borgs from the newer Star Trek series that followed the original. From 1974 to 1978, actor Lee Majors starred in a television series titled, The Six Million Dollar Man, where he was rebuilt after a serious accident. He was part machine and part human.

Of course, the most notable cyborg of recent years is probably Darth Vader, the villain from Star Wars.

Yes, our concept of cyborgs is mostly left to science fiction, but perhaps not for long.

Jump really quick with me to the subject of robots. Ove the past decade, there has been huge advances in robotics, but one of the greatest challenges in the field is creating genuine life-like movement. Robots can walk run and dance, but their movements are definitely mechanical appearing.

Moving fingers is very difficult, at least to get them to be able to display the same dexterity as living human fingers. Well, that hurdle is being overcome by some researchers in Tokyo who have found a way to use living muscle to help with a more lifelike movement of robotic fingers.

According to a recent report:

“As if the line between human and machine wasn’t already blurry enough, researchers in Tokyo have developed a new method for using living rat muscle tissue in robotics.”

“The ‘biohybrid’ design, described today in the journal Science Robotics, simulates the look and movements of a human finger. Video shows how it bends at the joint, picks up a loop, and places it down. It’s a seemingly simple movement but one that researchers say lays the groundwork for more advanced—and even more lifelike—robots. (Meet Sophia, the robot that looks almost human.)”

Click here to watch video.

Study author Shoji Takeuchi commented:

“If we can combine more of these muscles into a single device, we should be able to reproduce the complex muscular interplay that allows hands, arms, and other parts of the body to function. Although this is just a preliminary result, our approach might be a great step toward the construction of a more complex biohybrid system.”

How did they do it?

“The research group began looking at living muscle tissue because plastic and metal provided a limited range of movement and flexibility. To grow their robot’s muscles, they layered hydrogel sheets filled with myoblasts—rat muscle cells—on a robotic skeleton. The grown muscle is then stimulated with an electric current that forces it to contract.”

They have a major obstacle that they need to overcome and that is that using living tissue limits the hand from only operating in water. Given the technology advances we see day-by-day, they’ll probably find a way to overcome this watery hurdle. Yes, creating real cyborgs just took a step forward as many are probably already trying to find a way to use this new technology to create more life-like hands and fingers for people who have lost theirs.

 

 

 

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