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Prosthetic koala

  [vote for,

Many unfortunate people have less than the median number of arms or hands, most often due to previous carelessness or sheer misfortune. Much effort has therefore been put into developing prosthetic limbs for monodextrous or nullidextrous people.

Such prostheses, in ancient times, were purely decorative and were fitted for aesthetic reasons (not unlike Tycho Brahe's false nose, but obviously more hand-shaped and less nose-shaped). In the early 20th century, more functional and less aesthetic prostheses were developed, often including a simple gripping capability. Over the last few decades, things have advanced to the point where myoelectric hands - controlled by nerve impulses picked up through the skin - are now a thing.

Howevertheless, until we develop a better way for the brain to communicate with a mechanical prosthesis - preferably in both directions - artificial hands will continue to be problematic.

As an interim solution, therefore, MaxiMed is currently trialling its latest invention - the prosthetic koala. Fitting is very simple, and does not require the detailed customization needed for conventional prostheses. The artificial eucalyptus log has a recess at one end into which the stump of the arm is fitted, and velcro straps hold it securely in place.

Installing the koala is equally straightforward - simply pop it onto the log, and tighten the belt that holds it in place, with its little hands reaching out. The belt is cunningly designed not to occlude the koala's pouch, which makes a convenient place in which to keep loose change or train tickets.

All that remains is to train your prosthesis. Koalas are quite amenable and surprisingly intelligent, and will quickly learn what is needed of them. Their little hands will soon learn to pick up a glass of ouzo, turn a doornob, or scatch an itchy nose when presented with the opportunity. They can also master a few basic verbal commands*, expanding their repertoire.

Best of all, koalas are of course sensitive, and can provide a sort of tactile feedback to the wearer, albeit at one step removed. This can be a huge advantage: for instance, a simple mechanical prosthesis cannot warn you that the cup of tea you are raising to your lips is scalding hot; a koala, however, can and will. Koalas also have a degree of autonomy, so they can be left to get on with simple tasks such signing your name or holding down a chord on your Strat, whilst you look elsewhere.

The dexterity of your prosthetic koala also far exceeds that available from even the best artificial hand. Indeed, in many situations, the wearer of a prosthetic koala has the edge over an able-bodied human, being able to avail themselves of a total of three hands and fifteen digits. You can finally nail that G#m7b9 chord.

Please note that survivors of our earlier "prosthetic python" program are automatically entitled to enrol in the prosthetic koala trials.

(*Incoming, that is. Koalas seldom speak with any authority.)

MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 27 2018


       // Koalas are ... surprisingly intelligent //   

       Very surprisingly. They're from Australia, a place not reknowned for intellectual virtuosity.   

       Koalas are massively, tragically dim, barely able to walk and breathe simultaneously (altho this exceeds the capabilities of the human inhabitants by a wide margin).
8th of 7, Jan 27 2018

       //Have you debugged the previous well-known and observed tendency for koalas to run down one eucalyptus tree and across the ground and up another// May I draw your attention to the second line of the fifth paragraph of the idea?   

       //Koalas are massively, tragically dim// A common misunderhension. They are, in fact, intelligent enough to have developed a lifestyle which involves nothing more than sitting in a tree in a warm climate, eating their favourite food. The deep thought processes that led them to this point are well-disguised, because they don't want to end up being recruited as software developers or (probably) prosthetic limbs.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 27 2018

       The koalas, thus attached to the logs, would thereby release their grip on the trees which would otherwise have accommodated them.   

       So, if you filled their pouches with jam, their perches would be tree- releasing jam-filled koala logs.
Wrongfellow, Jan 27 2018

       You're not taking this seriously, are you, [Wrongfellow]?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 27 2018

       No. Why, are you?
Wrongfellow, Jan 27 2018

       We've invested over £3.5M in this technology to date. Admittedly, it was [8th]'s £3.5M, but it still counts.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 27 2018

       Hmm. Then maybe I should re-evaluate the seriousness of this idea.   

       Would you be interested in my latest developments in automated pouch-filling mechanisms? They are, of course, directly applicable to jams of all varieties.
Wrongfellow, Jan 27 2018

       I'll ask my technical inadvisory board.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 27 2018

       //walk and breathe simultaneously//   

       ... wommmwommmwommmwommmwommm etc.
pertinax, Jan 27 2018


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