From the gadget-packed bionic arm that is transforming one amputee’s life to the antenna implanted in a colour-blind artist’s head that allows him to “hear colours”, technology is transforming the human experience.
But with more and more people turning to technology to solve their problems, will mankind eventually morph into a race of cyborgs with super-human powers?
It may sound far-fetched, but technology and medicine is evolving at such a rate that almost anything is possible when it comes to manipulating the human body.
Prosthetics are becoming more advanced, sensors and chips are now small enough to be embedded in people’s bodies, and scientists are even learning how to safely manipulate parts of the human brain.
With our reliance on technology growing daily, Mirror Online takes a look at some of the real-life inventions that offer an early glimpse into our cyborg future.
Spanish artist and musician Neil Harbisson was born with achromatopsia, a rare form of total colour blindness.
For years he wore an external electronic eye, which picked up colour frequencies through its camera and transformed them into distinct sounds.
However, two years ago, he convinced surgeons to implant a chip inside his skull – similar to a cochlear implant used by the hard of hearing – that converts images into sound vibrations.
The antenna, which he calls the “eyeborg”, consists of a camera on one end and an audio input on the other, which is now implanted inside the back of his skull.
A WiFi connector inside the chip also allows him to hear images sent from a mobile phone, without even looking at them.
Computer game fanatic James Young tragically lost an arm and a leg when he was dragged on to the tracks between two carriages of a train.
Despite his loss, James refused to let it interrupt his life. He even taught himself to use a gaming controller using his teeth and gets around using a wheelchair for long distances.
A year ago he answered an advert for a gaming company looking for an amputee gamer. He ended up receiving a bionic arm from gaming company Konami , modelled on lead character Snake from Metal Gear Solid.
The arm was created using a 3D printer after four months of design. It is controlled by sensors which react to muscle movement in his back.
The arm has a quad-copter drone which can launch and fly from his arm, a built in smart watch, charging points for mobile phones and can grip and lift. It also has lighting which he can change to suit his mood and a laser and torch.
Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics at Reading University, has had several chips implanted into his arms since 1997.
These chips link his nervous system to a computer. They work by emitting electronic currents when they picks up a radio frequency transmitted nearby.
By receiving and acting on these signals, computers can operate a range of devices – like turning on lights on when Warwick enters a room and opening doors automatically.
It is hoped the technology could one day help elderly people with a range of day-to-day tasks.
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