by November 5, 2002 0 comments

On October 16, 2002, Professor Kevin Warwick, the world’s first cyborg, launched his book I, Cyborg. For those unaware of the subject, the word cyborg has been derived from the words Cybernetic Organism, which means part human and part machine. 

Sleight of hand

Here’s an interesting experiment that Professor Warwick tried. For this he flew to the US from where he tried to move a robotic arm that was in his lab at the University of Reading, UK–7000 kms away just by thinking about it. And the arm moved! This is how it happened. The chip implanted in the Professor converted his thoughts into electrical signals and transmitted them over the Internet to this robotic arm sitting across the Atlantic Ocean. 

In 1998, Professor Warwick got a silicon chip implanted in his arm, allowing a computer to monitor him. The computer detected his presence and accordingly performed certain functions, which it was programmed for–like switching the room lights on and off and wishing him on arrival in office. In March 2002, Professor Warwick got a miniature silicon chip having a hundred electrodes implanted into the main nerve canal of his left arm. Through this, scientists are able to get readings of the impulses, which are sent from his brain and use them to perform tasks like moving a robotic arm. 

The technology that participates in this mechanism is a simple radio-signal transmitter that is attached to his arm, and sends the signals to the computer after amplifying them. The rest of the process is handled by software running on the computer. 

This technology holds a lot of promise for the future. Scientists claim that if they could correctly interpret the brain signals and send processed signals to the brain, humans would get a sixth sense that can allow them to feel or visualize their surroundings and even get continuous information online. Will this new technology be a blessing to the future civilization or will it end up in a tussle between man and machine? Only time will tell.

Varun Sharma

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