Artificial Body Parts
By Patrick Callahan
What are Artificial Body Parts?
Prosthesis have been around for centuries. The Ancient Egyptians used Wooden Toes as the first Prosthesis created, made out of wood and leather, about 4000 years ago. Prosthetics are manmade arms or legs that are used to assist the user in walking, or allow the user to pick up smaller objects. While for thousands of years, the fake prothesis were simply nothing but a creation used to fill the space of a missing arm or leg, there have been advancements done.
Lighter materials allow the user to more easily move their prosthesis. After all, they have to be made out of durable material and not being able to physically move the prosthetic itself requires the user to navigate the prosthetic from the base of his amputation or injury, which may require a good amount of energy to properly move. With the advancement of technology, moving prosthesis was bound to happen, and in 1508, a German mercenary was outfitted with two prosthetic hands, despite him only losing one hand. While one might think this to be an odd sight, the contraption worked; the mercenary could control his prosthetic through a series of springs and releases, with some obvious limitations. Skip to modern times, and prothesis might be just as capable as actual human limbs.
The ability to fully restore a human's missing limb is something that has long been desired, and with the aid of technology, that dream might be accomplished. The "Moto Knee", a variety of bionic knee replacements allows users to not only perform everyday activities, but also allows for physical labor and sports with the addition of the Versa Foot. Hands might prove to be a challenge however. Today's machines are not yet capable of receiving the complex signals from the brain. However, innovators have found a way to use existing muscles to allow proper movements that the user might desire. Of course, there is a drawback. The user has to take "anti-rejection medicine", drugs that prevent the immune system from attacking the prosthetic. Devoted people into developing prosthesis says that this is a major step forward towards replicating the human hand.
Organs & Epidermises
Of course, this all comes with limitations. The recipient can only see about 60 pixels, which is due to the Argus II being configured to only implant sixty electrodes to the retina. This artificial vision also lacks color, and it is relatively difficult to descriptively identify individuals due to the the quality of vision. Despite this, the Argus II has been a successful product and has helped restore sight to multiple people with RP, even being approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
The Almighty Lungs
Brisbane's Prince Charles Hospital Foundation started an appeal to raise another large sum of $5,000,000 needed for the team to start testing the heart on humans in 2018. Overall, however, there is hope in the future for Artificial Human Body Parts. With the BiVACTOR in progress, the Argus II in the process of getting an upgrade, and the Biolung being used as a supplement until it is possible to create Lungs, it is possible that human advancement can boom again in this category, which can save the lives of millions.