No – I’m not talking about what ants have naturally – this is about creating exoskeletons for human beings – a sort of kinder, gentler BORG-ing – not quite as invasive. Here’s a link to an article in MIT Tech Review to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. (I’ve chosen the pictured article because I like the look, but there are links to other types of aids within the linked article.)
For the exoskeleton of the future to be elegant and ergonomic, it should be easily calibrated (hopefully automatically), so that movement can be regulated by what is needed. And this need and will vary (even in a single user’s lifetime – see examples of uses I list below), so the more automatic the calibration the better.
It will also need to have interfaces to interpret the user’s desired movement based on what their capability is – from the paralyzed who can provide little input, to the totally able-bodied who just need an assist.
Assuming that the interfaces and responsiveness can be worked out (and there’s no reason to believe otherwise), here are some possible uses for an elegant exoskeleton:
- Assist the elderly and others experiencing diminished capacity in maintaining and enhancing their independence, and their ability to function without needing special environments.
- Give that extra boost needed for terrestrial heavy lifting and other manual labor tasks – to grant more capacity as well as reducing risk of injury.
- Enhance an astronaut’s ability to function in varied gravities without extra effort (including not having to relearn how to move.)
- With a feedback system, provide the injured with isometric resistance to aid in healing and strengthening.
- To help returning Spacers to readjust to returning from zero-G (and keep them strong in space as in #4 above.)
- To help ALL of us do things that normal people just can’t (run faster, climb higher, etc.)
To me, the health applications are the most intriguing and beneficial. There are people all over this planet who SHOULD be getting more exercise but can’t, and so they remain sedentary, and they enter a downward spiral as their health lessens (muscles weaken, weight increases), they become even less mobile. Helping these people to get back on their feet and into an UPWARD spiral of more mobility and greater health would make a huge difference.
This is not far future – some of it is already here – but it will enable so much more.
This week’s Smashword’s coupon is for “Cat and Mouse”:
Major Tom has plans for his leave time; this cat is finally going to get some much needed R&R with his mates. But recent additions to the household (including his Admiral father-in-law and an uppity mouse chef), as well as an unexpected visit from yet another enemy puts his whiskers in a twist.
“Cat and Mouse” is the third story in my Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire series.
Use coupon code SU47H to get 67% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s only 99-cents – such a deal!) – it’s good until August 13th. Here’s the link:
“Cat and Mouse” is also available in the collection – Cats of War I.
“The Scent of the Crime” is still in queue for an August 26th release – formatting takes time…
William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest publication “Obsolete”, can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri