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Posts Tagged ‘Body Enhancements’

The blur between Man and Machine

With technology moving forward at an alarmingly fast rate, it would only be in human nature to want to use technology to advance our hardware. The outcome: body enhancements. Molly in Neuromancer had many enhancements with her body, as did Palmer Eldritch in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.  Along with Palmer’s modifications, Leo Bulero in the same novel received cosmetic surgery to implement a tongue weapon.  Although I have not heard of any surgical procedures to implant weapons to the body, there have been major advancements with prosthetics and optical surgery.   Dustin in his post “One Step Closer to Palmer ” goes into detail about the positive side to the body enhancements that help those in need of prosthetics.  The prosthetic limb shown in the video exemplifies the glories of technological advancements and the ability to help the lives of others while combining medicine and technology. On the other side of this is Alexie’s post,”Body Enhancements…Possible?“, about pointless enhancements such as the “Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery [that] inserts shapes such as ‘hearts, stars, euro signs, four-leaf clovers, and music notes’ into a patient’s eye (Scott, 8)”.

The optical surgery to insert shapes has no medical significance and provides a way for doctors to use their skills to enlarge their bank accounts.  The E-therapy seen in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch has a somewhat similar cosmetic appeal, as there is no real medical significance to the procedure and simply is seen as a status symbol.  We had talked about the importance of always having the newest and coolest piece of technology when is comes to cell phones and laptops, but who would have thought the same could be said for cosmetic surgery that blurs the line between technology and the body.  Cyborgs have been in books for years, but the concept of a cyborg made of mainly machine has yet to make an appearance.  In Christopher’s post, “The Opposite of a Cyborg?” he reveals the concept of a machine that has human cells growing in it.  The concept is still in prototype stages but as Christopher said, “It seems that as time and research move forward, the hybrid fusion of man and machine will only evolve to even greater levels.”  It is hard to admit how much we are dependent on technology and the continual blur between our technology and us continues to grow with each new product release.  It is very daunting to think that the new iPhone 5 rumored to release later this year may turn out to simply be an implant where the screen is a projection through out eyeball and we control it with our body as we saw in the episode of Futurama.

I guess it is safe to say that no matter where society takes us there will always be a demand for engineers to create new technology, and doctors to implant it into our bodies.  As we discussed one class period, it is impossible to think of a day where we would be forced to live without any technology. From the contacts in my eyes to the computer I am currently typing this post on, I would be nothing without technology.

Can you see the future?

I am sure everyone has been bored on an airplane and opened up the latest version of SkyMall to check out the latest in gadgets and home accessories.  One object in particular always catches my eye: iWear VR920.  For the cheap price of $399.00 you too can have the world’s best-selling pair of virtual reality glasses.  Not only is the customer able to look like a character from The Matrix, but they also get to experience the wonders of a virtual reality. There has even been experiments if this virtual technology could be used with medicine to help patients psychologically heal from injuries.  Although the iWear glasses are sold on a commercial basis for personal use, advances in technology could discover a way to help patients recover from psychological events or help train combat fighters to decrease deaths.

With all new inventions, there are many faults in the product including the stability, and the graphics of the virtual reality. But like all new age technology, once the original is created it can only be improved from there. So who knows, maybe one day we will only communicate through a virtual world, or maybe the reality of Chew-Z and Can-D is not far in the future.  The Vuzix iWear glasses are able to track your head movement so the character reacts to your movements and provides to equivalent of a 62-inch screen from a safe distance of 9 feet.  These revolutionary glasses give the viewers a full immersion into the virtual world of the game of their choice. Not only do viewers get to experience their favorite games in a 3D experience, but they will feel like they are a part of the game.  The concept of virtual reality glasses brings a whole new meaning to the concept of gamer addiction as they feel they are physically in the game.

The technology of the virtual glasses can easily be improved with lighter designs, better graphics, and faster movement tracking technology.  After such advances in technology it is not far fetched to think that maybe one day we will be able to slip on a pair of glasses and join the Avatars of tomorrow in a foreign land where we cannot die and virtual cyberspace becomes our reality.

 

Discovery

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

A few years ago, I started to really get into live music. By live music, I don’t necessarily mean concerts (although I do love concerts), but even televised live music, because bands prove their true talent through live performances. When DVRing various concerts on TV didn’t quite cut it for me, I turned to Youtube. Youtube works wonders. At the time, I had just learned how to play “Drops of Jupiter” by Train on the piano, so I looked up a few of their live performances. I viewed a couple videos, but then accidentally clicked on this cover band at the bottom of that tab on the right side. Best mistake I’ve ever made. Two years ago, I was one of the first youtube viewers for a cover band called Boyce Avenue–a band composed of three brothers who put their music on youtube with the hope of getting famous. Before I could go back to the previous page, the music started playing, and it was amazing. To me, Boyce Avenue’s rendition of the song is even better than Train’s. And that goes for almost all of their covers.

Now, the Boyce Avenue “Drops of Jupiter” cover has over 2.5 million hits, and the band is performing concerts all around the world, and have become quite well known (at least compared to a few years ago). I know it seems like this blog is an advertisement for Boyce Avenue, and so far it is. But the main idea here is that, through the internet, I have discovered someone’s hidden talent, a talent I most likely would not have found otherwise. At the same time, Boyce Avenue has found another fan (probably their number one fan), and that is one step closer to them becoming famous. Boyce Avenue has come a long way since I started listening to them, and that just proves how the internet has become this extremely useful medium for discovering talent.

A more famous example of this success is Justin Bieber. Even though I am not particularly a fan of his music, he started his career on youtube, and now he’s making movies.

WHADDUP!!!!!

Maybe Boyce Avenue will one day make their own movie too. You never know. Even my 12 year old sister has put up a few youtube videos of her singing. I think she is amazing, but my opinion is probably a little biased. I’m posting her video anyways.

Whether she becomes famous of not, that fact that she believes in the internet’s ability to grant her fame is enough in itself to prove my point:  Without technology like Youtube, so many of the people we hear about today would still be undiscovered. Youtube works wonders.

Oh and I have to post the newest Boyce Avenue video too because it is absolutely amazing.

Body Enhancements…Possible?

February 1, 2011 5 comments

After diving into the futuristic world of Neuromancer, it is only natural to wonder what direction technology will take our generation. Most technology we hear about in daily conversation revolves around viral YouTube videos, the upcoming release of the newest iPhone, or the updated version of the Kindle. These electronic devices are extremely practical and convenient, and though they might have some fancy features, they are designed to be functional. Yet, wouldn’t itbe a waste if all of these innovations weren’t put to use for “gadgets” or “toys”, the same type of inventions that you would see on Star Trek?

The H+ magazine, issued seasonally, informs subscribers about the latest fun advances in technology. In the opening issue, the editor, RU Sirius, speaks about transhumanism, the possibilities of body enhancements, artificial intelligence, and “singularity”.  Though all of the articles are incredibly interesting with ideas both far-fetched and feasible, the article “Skin Phone”really caught my eye. It speaks of a “phone that would be implanted under the skin, with microscopic spheres that would act as the touch-screen buttons.” (Scott, 7) The phone does not need a battery, and instead uses energy from your blood supply. Conveniently located on the top of your forearm, the phone can disappear, then reappear and answer calls with the same button.

Though this skin phone is a prototype, another form of enhancement, “jeweled eyes”, is currently available starting at around $750. This procedure, sponsored by the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery, inserts shapes such as “hearts, stars, euro signs, four-leaf clovers, and music notes” into a patient’s eye (Scott, 8). The surgery is not painful, nor does it “interfere with sight”. Further into the magazine, Kristi Scott, mentions an

other form of eye enhancement through contacts. “Engineers at the University of Washington have developed a contact lens that creates a virtual display superimposed over the normal field of vision.” (Scott, 15). The contact allows the real and cyber world to combine and interact as one. “It would allow people to use online services such as Google Earth in real time over the real landscape in front of us. All those giant pushpins will become a reality, making it much easier to navigate, since the desired location will have a great big arrow or identifier for you.” (Scott, 15)

 

Engineers and scientists are currently working towards making these technological innovations commonplace in our society. Only time will tell whether or not body enhancements, such as Molly’s in Neuromancer, will become a popular reality.

Attached are some PDF files of the magazine:

H+ Magazine Fall 2008

H+ Magazine Winter 2009