What is Cyborg and its applications in many fields?
Cyborg is considered a needful combination of organic and mechanical body parts. It is the excellence of the technology that enhances the capacities of the deformed to many extents.
What is Cyborg?
Cyborg is a need-based combination of organic and mechanical body parts. It is the excellence of technology that enhances the capacities and capabilities of deformed humans to many extents. In most of the known cases, it is human augmented with robotics or mechanical body parts. Many of the advocates of this concept include people with cochlear, pacemakers implants, and even contact lenses.
The term cyborg was first coined by the scientist Manfred Edward Clynes and Psychiatrist Nathan S. Kline in an article entitled “ Cyborgs and Space” in an issue of the journal “Astronautics” in the year 1960. However, its technical descriptions are penned in the cybernetic theory of Norbert Wiener.
A brief history of cyborg.
Dr. Peter Scott Morgan was considered as world’s first human cyborg, whereas Neil Harbisson was legally recognized as one, who owned an antenna implanted in his skull, making him capable of perceiving colours. Harbisson was born with achromatopsia a medical term that means not capable to see the colour spectrum. While pursuing study in experimental music composition at Dartington College of Arts in Devon, England, for his final project he and the computer scientist Adam Montandon, developed a device called “eyeborg”.
The newly invented device gave exposure to people with colourblindness to see colour. However, the new invention could not solve the entire issue of Neil Harbisson but he could recognize and see the colours like red, green, and blue. Later on, the machine was further developed and the antenna was implanted in his skull. Additionally, the Canadian Filmmaker’s eyeborg is a prosthetic eye mounted with a video camera.
Science fiction was the pioneer in the popularization of these concepts. What the author imagines or conceives today science is proving tomorrow. In science fiction, a cyborg was a person with visible added mechanical parts. Some examples are DC comics superhero Cyborg, the Star Wars character Darth Vader, and Borgrace from Star Trek Universe. Further, it can be seen more like a humanoid robot which includes, DC’s Doom Patrol or varieties of Cybermen from Doctor Who comics.
Science and technology make human beings innovative and at the same time, humans through their hard work and constant persuasion do many innovative things to touch the pinnacle of the glories. All the research is aimed at keeping humanity knowledgeable, long live, and happy. In this direction applications of cyborg technology are employed in the field including medicines, defence, sports, art, space, etc.
Applications in Medicine:
Modern man’s principal concern is health and fitness to live a long dignified life. A physically challenged or deformed may have mental agony for the physical body. The technology has now been developed to compensate for the deficiencies to a large extent. Restoration of lost functions of different organs, limbs, etc being done for the purpose.
The artificial cardiac pacemaker or cardioverter-defibrillator-like devices are implanted within the body to measure voltage potentials in the body and perform signal processing which can produce electrical stimuli, using a synthetic feedback mechanism to keep that fellow alive. Artificial hearts were developed in 2004. In August 2006, an artificial heart was implanted into a 15years old girl at Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as a temporary measure till a donor’s heart is received.
The implant of robotic arms, and legs through nerve-muscle grafting is a bright example of medical applications.
A brain-computer interface or BCI provides communication from the brain to an external device, which creates a cyborg. In 2014 researchers from the University of Illinois at Urban Champaign and Washington University, in St Louis developed a mechanical tool that can keep a heartbeat endlessly, which can replace pacemakers successfully. Deep brain stimulation, retina implant, the implant of artificial pancreas ( in type diabetics), and even Google Glass, etc are extensive uses of applications in medicines.
Application in Defense/military:
Freedom is a birthright for everyone and likely every nation has the freedom and constitutional right to defend its geographical territory. The defence ministry and military of every country are preparing budgets and infusing huge money into R&D programs.
Now many advanced countries have engaged scientists and engineers in research to use cyborgs in the military/ military cyborgs for operations in the future. A study group from DoD, Biotechnologies for Health and Human Performance Council, USA has prepared a vision document entitled “Cyborg Soldier 2050: Human/machine Fusion and the Implications for the Future of the DoD” after a thorough assessment. The team focused on technology to facilitate the interactions between humans and machines. Further, the team suggests ” these interactions would allow warfighters direct communication with unmanned and autonomous systems, as well as with other humans, to optimize command and control systems and operations.”
However, the team also raised concerns about the technological implications after 2050, in summary, which reads “Induction of augmented human beings into the general population, DoD active duty personnel, and near-peer competitions will accelerate into the years following 2050 and will lead to imbalances, inequalities, and inequalities in established legal, security and ethical frameworks”
AI-equipped with cyborg technology can do wonders in defence sectors to defeat adversaries. The technology may be fitted into small beetles and other small animals and their eye views can be remotely recorded on camera and on time suitable remedial actions may be taken. However, the use of these techniques in defence may not justify humanism.
Application in sports:
Sports have mass constructive appeal and spirit to unite the entire human society. Events like sports never inject divisive sprite in humans. The Applications of this technology in sports events are very encouraging which we witnessed in 2016 “Cybathlon” as the first cyborg Olympics, celebrated in Zurich, Switzerland. In the games, sports persons with disabilities from 16 teams participated in 6 different events. The athletes used powered prosthetic legs and arms, robotic exoskeletons, motorized wheelchairs, etc.
Cybathlon not only gave the athletes self-esteemed confidence but also the technological enhancement proved that it was for the upliftment of the unprivileged.
Application in Art and literature:
In the fiction of science literature cyborg characters are prevalent, and the main characters are Terminator in Universal Soldiers Daleks, Cybermen in Doctor Who, Replicants in Blade Runner, Borg in Star Trek, Inspector Gadget, and Cylons in Battlestar Galactica(2004) series are named few. But real-life artists like Neil Harbisson, Moon Ribas, Tim Hawkinson, etc., have performed in public to create awareness of cybernetic organisms and create public opinion in its favour. Many presented these concepts in Canvas to popularise the technology.
Application in space:
Research is on for the exploration & utilization of technology in the space sector, as it is one of the challenging areas for growth. In the near future NASA, CNSA or ESA may achieve a breakthrough to utilize cyborgs in this sector.
Every good or bad action is opposed by a pressure group in one or more forms in society, which is a good sign of consciousness and in fact, all the bad things should be opposed. An anti-cyborg organization called “Stop the Cyborgs” was launched by a London-based group and targets those who use wearable technology like Google Glass or narrative clips accusing them of a threat to privacy.
The concept of the cyborg is a contribution of modern technology and research, however, the cyborgs which are useful for society and benefit the needy must be encouraged and at the same time, the privacy, dignity, and integrity of humans must be respected.