Symmetric bionic augmentation.

  augmentation bionics common_sense cybernetics science_fiction feature_parity bilateral_symmetry

Something that's always bugged me about science fiction is the lack of common sense of characters' bionic enhancements.

No, I'm not going to call them cybernetics.  RPGs and movies have it wrong.  Those aren't cybernetics, they're bionics.  The former is a feature of the latter.

Characters pretty much always seem to have their augmentations installed bass-ackwards.  Most of the time their positioning doesn't make sense at all.  Let's look at some handedness statistics: Depending on where you are, between 2% and 12% of people are left-handed.  Depending on your upbringing (if you were born left handed in some places, whether …

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3D printed jet engines, prosthetic limbs, and car engines.

  3d_printing bionics cars engines industrial jets prosthetics

The state of the art of personal 3D printing is still in a state of flux. Mostly, we're still limited to variants of low-melting point plastics and we're still figuring out new and creative ways of making more complex shapes that are self-supporting to some extent. What isn't getting a whole lot of press right now are some industrial applications of this technology, some of which date back a good decade.

For example, a research team consisting of personnel from Monash University in Australia, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and Deakin University recently unveiled the world's first 3D …

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From my alma mater, a monkey with a prosthetic arm.

  arms bionics manipulators meeky_meeky monkeys prosthetics testing

If you've been watching the Net for a while, you've probably heard about the monkey in a research lab at the University of Pittsburgh that has a prosthetic arm wired directly to its brain with an implanted interface. The monkey seems to have gotten pretty good with it, too - while restrained it can use the prosthetic arm to feed itself. If you follow the link to the neuro-bio lab you can even watch it in realtime.

Retinal prostheses now being tested on felines.

  bionics cats prosthetics retinas sight testing

Prosthetic retinas are leaving the experimental stage and now are in live animal testing to shake the bugs out. A number of housecats with a condition similiar to retinitis pigmentosa, which causes blindness by killing the rod and cone cells that make up the retinas have been implanted with silicon chips 2mm on a side that replicate some of the functions of organic retinas. The chips are covered with microscopic photodiodes that register light levels, produce miniscule electrical impulses, and feed directly into the optic nerve. Similiar implants have been used in a small number of humans with this disorder …

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