July 15, 2013
Wow, prosthetics have come a long way--these are tough!
This video from Biodapt shows their high-performance Moto Knee being used in a variety of action sports including snowmobiling, motor biking, mountain biking, horseback riding, water skiing, snow boarding, and jet skiing.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek (11 July 2013) explains how the Moto Knee has hydraulic components that provide "tension and range of motion for intense physical activity."
They cost around $6,000 and don't replace the regular walking version, but Mike Schultz, the developer understands the need for these advanced prosthetics having lost a leg himself in a 2008 competitive snowmobiling accident.
I think it's wonderful that these high-tech devices are being made available for disabled people to be able to do a wide range of exciting activities.
My hope is that as the technology continues to advance that we can have--like a person's legs--one prosthetic device that is adaptive for use in every day use as well as more intense activities and sports.
It is hard to imagine people voluntarily trading their body parts for mechanical implants--but one day, in the not too distant future, these mechanical limbs will not only be a substitute for repair of real body parts, but will actually provide some superior capabilities--they will be used for body augmentation--and thus even be desirable by those who haven't lost limbs.
What gives a leg up to prosthetics, as Hugh Herr in the Wall Street Journal (12 July 2013) put it is "that the designed parts of the body can improve in time, whereas the normal body, the biological body, degrades in time."
With regenerative medicine and replacement parts by design, more than ever our physical bodies will be just the transient vessel that houses our heart, mind and soul--that which really makes us, us. ;-)