In addition to a new post you might notice that I’m a new author as well. I was injured in a car accident in 2004 and suffered a spinal cord injury at C4/C5. I’ve been going to Aim2Walk since the clinic opened and have since been impressed with the level of knowledge, professionalism and quality of Staff. So much so that I hope to bring a unique viewpoint to this blog as a client of Aim2Walk and end-user of various products.
So as someone with a spinal cord injury, and an interest in technology, I’ve always tried to imagine what the future may hold for people with similar injuries. At first it was the exoskeleton that I thought would be the way of the future. However, by nature of design an exoskeleton has to be bulkier and bigger than the body it would support. That didn’t faze me into thinking an exoskeleton is a failed design for people with paralysis. As any sort of independent movement is better than nothing in my opinion. That was until I played the videogame Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Now bear with me here as I make a connection between a videogame and spinal cord injuries. The game features the main character Adam Jensen in the year 2027. Apparently by then Cybernetics (the study of technology interfacing with the human body) will have become the norm for both people with disabilities as well as those looking for an increased competitive edge. Anyways, it’s the main character Adam Jensen that’s been augmented with artificial body parts to make him better, faster and stronger, so to speak. The more I delved into the game the more I began to think that maybe, just maybe, this will be the way of the future for us fragile human beings.
So I started to do a little digging into the advancements in present day Cybernetics. The first link brought me to a short documentary commissioned by the makers of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The documentary features filmmaker and cyborg Rob Spence going around the world looking at current developments into the future of Cybernetics and the people who are currently living with them. What makes this even more interesting is the fact that Rob is a semi-cyborg himself. Rob lost one of his eyes in a shooting accident but has since replaced it with a video camera that transmits what he sees to a video recorder.
Although this camera is not hooked up to his optic nerve, he does interview a man with such an eye. He also interviews people with limb augmentations which are pretty astounding as they bridge the man/machine interface. It is this interface that made me delve into some more research.
After watching the complete 12 min. documentary it reaffirmed what I thought might be possible one day. That thought you ask? Implanting a computer chip into the spinal cord where I have my injury and bypassing the injury site, thus becoming a computer augmented person. It all sounds pretty far-fetched but the truth is out there. Literally. In 2006, Rob Summers was hit by a car leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. After three years of physiotherapy Rob did not gain much progress in his rehabilitation. That was until doctors at the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Centre implanted an electrical stimulator at the bottom of his spine. Within days, Summers was able to stand by himself and within the next few months move his hips, knees, ankles and even wiggle his toes. After three years he even took his first few steps on a treadmill.
Ultimately, this leads me to believe that what was once science-fiction is now the possible, and may in fact be considered relatively tame as to what the future may hold. So maybe in the next few years, as technology advances at its exponential rate and more research uncovers the mysterious secrets of the human brain and nervous system, video games will become real, while spinal cord injuries may become a thing of the past