It was inevitable that this would happen. Futurists have been speaking about this for several decades now. A time when it will be hard to distinguish between man and machine. Does a person with an artificial heart classify as man or machine? Ignore the moral debate for a minute. There are more practical problems at hand. Imagine that an accident left you without a hand or even both. You would pretty much do anything to get your hands back. Well, science now has an answer.

Historically, it was possible to use a prosthetic hand. It would give you the semblance of having a hand, but it didn’t do the job. In the beginning, you could not move your fingers leave along feel sensations or touch. Science has come a long way since. A team at the University of Utah has tested a new prosthetic hand. The hand has sensors that are mapped to 192 electrodes each of which corresponds to a specific sensation. Sensors on the hand allow a person to “feel” and the feeling is then transmitted through the electrodes to the brain. When the signal hits your brain, you can feel the sensation.

This new prosthetic is indeed a revolution for anyone missing the ability to use a hand. Human Augmentation is a rapidly evolving science that aims to marry technology, computing, and sensors to fill the void created by accidents or even genetic malfunctions. Of course, there will be the moral dilemma that will follow. Are human beings becoming too dependant on artificial augmentation? What if a significant number of your limbs or organs are artificial – your heart, your eyes even say your blood. Are you still human? These questions will continue to haunt us for some time. In the interim, those who have once again been able to feel will undoubtedly have a smile to follow.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.