On the positive side of our cyborg future…

Dear Matthew

It’s Sunday, and, yes, this is one of those Sundays… 

We had a great family dinner yesterday, lots of good food – and a little too much wine, which will make it hard to get up this morning. Of course, lying here,  trying to command my old body into getting up, I am thinking of Jimmy. I’m amazed at the mobility his Toshiba ExoKit gives him – and after the dinner yesterday, I’m sure most of us are. Ten years ago, an accident like his would have sentenced this former very active young man to life in a wheelchair. Now, after the doctors finally gave up, the visit to the fitting engineers gave Jimmy so many more options than he would have had, just ten years ago. 

Off course, he is traumatized, and no, he will never lead a normal life  – but he’ll be tenfold more mobile than people in his situation ever was before and won’t be tied to a wheelchair.

While Jimmy’s ExoKit is specialized to handle walking and standing, I became curious and began looking into other types of ExoKit’s.  You can get one for hands, arms, whole-torso support, etc. Also, there seem to be many control options; like implants, sEMG, speech, and AI-support. As humans in general, the ExoKit’s are, and needs to be, very diverse. Every human is different – and so are the illnesses or crazy accidents we get ourselves into. In that way, fitting of ExoKits are a delicate business, a bit like before, where you’d need credited pedorthists to fit shoes for special feet – or opticians to get the right glasses. Like with pedorthists and opticians, fitting of ExoKits is almost 100% automated now. Sensors and algorithms take care of most measurements – and can even help us out with the more aesthetic choices. 

Now, if I could only rent an ExoKit for later this afternoon, where this old body needs to get up and take care of some of the gardening that our drone can’t handle, I’d be happy – but, then again, it’s a good thing, that I don’t really need it…


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