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Future Imperative

What if technology were being developed that could enhance your mind or body to extraordinary or even superhuman levels -- and some of these tools were already here? Wouldn't you be curious?

Actually, some are here. But human enhancement is an incredibly broad and compartmentalized field. We’re often unaware of what’s right next door. This site reviews resources and ideas from across the field and makes it easy for readers to find exactly the information they're most interested in.

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The future is coming fast, and it's no longer possible to ignore how rapidly the world is changing. As the old order changes -- or more frequently crumbles altogether -- I offer a perspective on how we can transform ourselves in turn... for the better. Nothing on this site is intended as legal, financial or medical advice. Indeed, much of what I discuss amounts to possibilities rather than certainties, in an ever-changing present and an ever-uncertain future.

Monday, January 30, 2006

And the Tortoise Becomes the Hare -- Exoskeletons for Strength and Mobility -- Soc, Tech

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This article on international exoskeleton research from IEEE Spectrum is worth a quick glance. Exoskeletons, of course, are robotic limbs and shells which lend their wearers enhanced, mechanical strength. The article comments:

Science-fiction fans have long become accustomed to the idea of steely commandos clad in robotic exoskeletons taking on huge, vicious, extraterrestrial beasts, shadowy evil cyborgs, or even each other. Supersoldiers encased in sleek, self-powered armor figure memorably in such works as Robert A. Heinlein's 1959 novel Starship Troopers, Joe W. Haldeman's 1975 The Forever War, and many other books and movies. In 1999's A Good Old-Fashioned Future, for example, Bruce Sterling writes of a soldier dying after crashing in his "power-armor, a leaping, brick-busting, lightning-spewing exoskeleton."


This article gives a good overview of relatively recent exoskeleton research. The idea of "power armor" is, naturally, of particular interest to advanced militaries such as America's. Giving every infantryman the capacity to carry more powerful weapons and a truly bulletproof shell of armor would in fact make the average soldier "superhuman" compared to most unenhanced "groundpounders." Curiously, such "armor" already exists in the form of powerful vehicles -- tanks, hoverjets and so forth. While conventional vehicles can not be taken into small spaces or provided affordably to every combat specialist, such armor conceivably could be. Thus creating a "walking tank."

Similar advantages would also accrue to other professionals who need to carry powerful equipment into harms way -- firemen, emergency rescue personnel, etc.

The article includes a quick summary of major exoskeleton projects in America, Europe and Asia. A gallery of images showing various innovations is also included.


Future Imperative

6 Comments:

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March 03, 2006 8:13 AM  
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