Cyborgs and Intelligent Assistive Technologies
Once I was waiting for the MRT in Taipei, I saw a young women walking pass. Her hair was so beautiful that I can’t help but take a second look. That’s how I saw her left leg. It was bare and was nothing like its fellow on the right. It’s a black, shiny, metal-like material that I couldn’t recognize.
I wished I wasn’t staring at it, but god, I WAS staring at it. I was amazed by its natural and smooth movement because if I didn’t look back for her hair, I wouldn’t even notice it. (See, it’s her hair that caught my eye instead of her artificial leg.) And I found that people actually didn’t SEE that at all. Then, I thought of the hearing impaired girl with cochlear implant who was bullied and being called Frankenstein.
On the MRT, I recalled the theory that wearing contact lenses is considered to be a kind of cyborg. My professor, a gentleman in his seventies with cardiac pacemaker and a pair of glasses, stood this theory. (He considered himself as an old kind of cyborg and was certain that we young lads will live long enough to become a more advanced cyborgs.)
Medical aids are designed for disabilities to help them live like “the normal”. However, we are going to have arms and legs built with more advanced technologies and stronger materials that functioned better than that of “the normal”. We made prosthesis looked as real as possible to avoid peculiar looks. These aids are noted due to its awkwardness and artificial qualities. Whether it’s for its appearance or for its function, it won’t be just like the one that grew out from your body. Since the priority is to improve the functions, convenience and comfortableness, the appearance will be designers’ last concern. (The budget will not likely to afford that, considering the high price of personalized assistive devices.)
However, some designers do it exactly the opposite to design these devices rather like machines than organisms. Thanks to works of science fiction, cyborgs and humanoid robots become a cool attraction. Glasses are for vision correction and eye protection. Moreover, it is a fashion. People wear them even though they have perfect eyesight. Could it be possible that cochlear implants become stylish accessories?
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