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Artificially intelligent unnatural prostheses.

They want to learn more about you.
  [vote for,

I was pondering how one might traverse an area like the "stone forest" in Madagascar. Extremely long telescoping stilts are the obvious answer. However, such devices and others like them might be cumbersome to use.

I propose that telescoping stilts and other super prosthesis be equipped with an artificial intelligence to aid the user and avoid accidents. It seems like scifi but AIs are now routinely incorporated into limb prostheses. These AIs try to make the prosthesis act more like a natural limb. But could one not make unnatural prostheses capable of superhuman feats - extra length, many joints, supernumerary fingers etc. Our mental hardware is not evolved to operate such limbs but this is where the AI comes in: the AI learns and adapts the function of the limb, facilitating its use.

bungston, Apr 14 2010

Stone forest http://ngm.national...alvarez-photography
Not easy to walk through it. Unless you have very long, thin legs. [bungston, Apr 14 2010]

Bionic technology http://www.ossur.com/?PageID=12651
Now. [bungston, Apr 14 2010]

Oscar Pistorius http://en.wikipedia...iki/Oscar_Pistorius
[DrBob, Apr 15 2010]

Mentally controlled prosthesis http://news.bbc.co....d_audio/8392111.stm
[DrBob, Apr 15 2010]

TED talk on the latest prosthetics http://www.ted.com/...hind_invention.html
[simonj, Apr 16 2010]


       I seem to remember a psychology study where they got monkeys to remotely control various devices...extra un-natural (for a monkey) robotic arms and such (from behind a glass panel). The found that after a while, no matter what the external device is, if you control it with your brain, your brain starts to percieve it as being a natural part of your body after a while.   

       trying to find the actual study...
ShawnBob, Apr 14 2010

       I like this a lot. I think the idea is a little bit vague (except for the telescoping stilts - which I think would be tricky to implement), but I still like it.   

       If someone loses a limb, the common response is to make something that looks like the original and functions as much like the original as possible - both of these aims seem to fail. So, if prosthetologists instead took each person as a blank canvas and said "OK, here's an arm- stump; what can we do with it that's cool?", the world might be a slightly better place. [+]
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 14 2010

       Very big steamroller ?
8th of 7, Apr 14 2010

       Okay, but then the AI program is going to overwhelm your control and then you'll have to go on to fight Spiderman.
RayfordSteele, Apr 15 2010

       + from me. The tendency to create prostheses that look 'natural' is a natural inclination but perhaps misguided. For example, look at all the controversy about Oscar Pistorius' artificial legs.

Per ShawnBob's anno, I don't think the AI is necessary either.
DrBob, Apr 15 2010

       a bit saddened that they amputated that kid's extra fingers and toes (recent news), woulda made a helluva anything involving digital manipulation.
FlyingToaster, Apr 15 2010

       Where's [oneoffdave] when you really need him?
gnomethang, Apr 15 2010

       [FT] I wonder if such a person would have a case to sue for damages when they come of age?
pocmloc, Apr 15 2010

       Yeah, this is all fine. In ten years time we'll all have a collection of robots (not the terminator), and many more people will be part-robotic. Right now there are some incredible arms, which are thought controlled - and the idea here is that they could be different shapes to the original body part. This is fine, and more-or-less inevitable. What interests me is - how versatile is the human brain? If you were to put a baby's brain into - a dolphin... would it 'get the hang' of the dolphin ? or is it So hard-wired as a human that it would be unable to control the body? Robotics will expose this. I'm quite sure it's versatile enough to control some pretty odd-ball limbs. Consider - controlling a helicopter, a piano, or horse. But, as eluded to in the posts, once AI comes on the scene - your brain won't need to control them, as long as there is a 'gist' - software should be able to control the specific limbs to get the 'result' it knows you want. Which opens the opportunities up still further.
nicholaswhitworth, Apr 16 2010

       [nicholaswhitworth] If they can get a small portion of rat brain to fly a plane, I reckon a baby would be able to pilot a dolphin...
xxobot, Apr 21 2010

       Amazing photos, [bungston]! I love the pure white lemurs and the shocking pink dragonfly.
pertinax, Apr 21 2010


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