Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Paraplegics: Cyborgs of the Future

Cyborgs are among us, well they should be, and if I have my way they will be. Of course first I should define what I mean by Cyborg. Considering a cyborg can be anything from the Terminator to Cybermen, some narrowing of the term cyborg is definitely necessary.

The most straightforward and simple definition according to Dictionary.com:

A human who has certain physiological processes aided or controlled by mechanical or electronic devices.
So by this definition if you use a wheelchair, and it is a power chair, then you are a cyborg.  So being the mad scientist in training that I am, I should go around crippling people. And then I would have my army of cyborgs. 

Of course Noggy, my assistant, quickly reminded me that my cyborg army wouldn’t quite work that way.  When I asked Noggy why? I am quickly reminded that my own wheelchair has not imparted me with any special powers, abilities, or strengths.

And I suppose Noggy is correct. I do, however, have the most comfortable seat wherever I go, and if waiters give me poor service I can make them feel miserable.  But those aren’t really all that appropriate abilities for a world conquering army of cyborgs.

Perhaps I need to go with a more narrow definition.  So of course I go where ever anyone goes when looking for information, Google. And from there I end up on Wikipedia. I can never really trust Wikipedia. It’s sort of an open source environment that leaves itself open to manipulation, particularly by the ever secretive anti-cyborg coalition.  They’re out there. Waiting.  Plotting. Ready to strike.

Now the Wikipedia entry has far more specificity, and yet somehow less; a cyborg is a being with both organic and mechanical parts.

So my army is going to consist of power wheelchair users, people with pacemakers, and people who have Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator. Not sure if an army of heart patients, quadriplegics and paraplegics will truly get me the results I want. That result being world domination.  Of course I could read further down the Wikipedia entry.

Rather let’s throw out other definitions all together and come up with my own. So for the purposes of simplicity we can say a cyborg is a human who has been augmented by technology in order to improve their overall performance, and make them far more suitable for world domination.

What or who should I have as my guinea pigs? An average human? An animal? The disabled? Heart patients? Republicans? Animals like actual guinea pigs?

I can imagine crying havoc and letting slip the dogs of war: A vicious army of killer bionic guinea pigs! Toes will tremble before my army!

I'm sorry heart patients, but I am going to with the physically disabled. I won't have to worry about them having a heart attack in combat. Now you may ask why would I want to go with them. Well Noggy, my assistant did, and the answer is fairly straight forward. The physical disability gives them the psychological and emotional incentive to master their new cybernetic and mechanical aids quickly. ANd the problem solving abilities they have developed from living with a disability would make them all excellent soldiers.

They would have the  physical capabilities of a machine but be able to make the intuitive leaps of a human, as well possessing well developed problem solving and critical thinking skills.

If you doubt the problem solving skills of many disabled people, try sitting in a chair for an entire day, and still go through any and all of the aspects of your daily routine. That includes getting dressed, going to the bathroom,  and showering.

Even better, or perhaps even worse, the two wars fought have given rise to a series of highly skilled soldiers who are now permanently disabled. People with refined critical thinking skills, who have actual experience in the field. An experience that can transfer for over to many other applications.

What those are? I am not going to list them. Or had you forgotten that this was about world domination?

Now there are plenty of people and corporations working on exoskeletons, and cybernetic implants. So instead or re inventing the wheel I can sit. Pet Noggy (Noggy is a cat you perverts!). And research what others have done, eventually twisting it to my own purposes. Similar to what your typical military or religious fanatic  does.

The first place to look would be simple exoskeletons. Similar to the one provided by Eksobionics

This particular exoskeleton provides particular problems. The $100,000 price tag aside,  it would require the hands to be able to push actuator buttons on either canes, or on a walker. Hardly efficient for a soldier, and damned inconvenient if a person wants to be able to do much with both hands while standing.

But it is a start. It provides the ability to walk. And that is more than myself or many others have. Perhaps I could provide shoulder Gatling guns, and wire them to the same button used to make the Ekso take a step. So with every step they would fire a spray of bullets.

Aiming would be a problem, and let's not forget friendly fire!  Gatling guns may have been a bad idea.
The Ekso does eventually progress to weight shifted actuated steps, but canes are still needed. No I need something MORE for my disabled army of devastating cyborgs.

It seems several companies offer variants of this device.  Indego is making developing one for clinical use. And another one from a company called ReWalk.

What I would like is a self supporting exoskeleton that reads the desire to move the legs and other extremities from the brain, similar to software used to move hands and mouse icons.

And I may have found it. It seems a group in Europe has created something called the Mindwalker
Mindwalker back Mindwalker exoskeleton uses EEG cap to help disabled people walk again
This device uses one of three methods to provide the user with the ability to walk. Two of which focus on using an EGG to read stimuli from the brain, one users swinging of the arms. Now if equipped with some sort of gyro to provide stabilization it would be almost as good as not being paralyzed. And thus would my army come to be!

The Mindwalker does provide for stability. It is by far the lightest of the exoskeletons, and does not require walking canes, or a walker. But would not be able to provide for the excessive movements a cyborg soldier would need.

I do like the name Mindwalker. It has the perfect ominous feel to it.  

As a paraplegic I have to admit that I want one. Whether it is an Ekso, a ReWalk, or the Mindwalker. I want one. I know I can live a long and fulfilling life, but I WANT TO WALK.

But I wish to focus on one thing at a time, and I want to create an army of cyborgs. Or at least plan how I would go about creating an army of cyborgs.

My idea is to combine technology of the Mindwalker  with the military exoskeletons that have been in development since the 1960's.  

This would be the end all and be all of cybernetic exoskeletons. Mindwalker combine with XOS and Cyberdine's mind scanning technology, and in both liquid body armor and transparent aluminum armor and  I have my complete exoskeleton available for my cyborg army. And I laugh my evil villain laugh. But why stop there?

This is all external. Why not go deeper?

Touch Bionics goes deeper. They provide prosthetics that have such a high level of functionality that amputees could be a part of my army. With hands and arms that could grasp the smallest flower, or crush the life from my enemies, the Anti-Cyborg Coalition.

And deeper still I wish to go. Not to just replicate skin, limbs or movement. Deeper into the spinal cord. 

We already go deeper with animals. It is about time we go deeper with humans. Why don't I go much deeper. Circumvent the blockage using some sort of signal, via RIF or the nerves of the body itself transmitting signals to different types of chips. With these signal transmitters in place I could over clock the body, allowing the person to become faster, stronger, based on their own nervous system.

Alas all of this costs money, and being a mad scientist in training my budget is very small. So I suppose it is back to the drawing board.