How Long Before We Can Climb The Rims As Easily As A Step Ladder
I remember when I was a kid watching the 6 Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman and thinking how cool it would be to be able to perform those kinds of superhuman feats. Of course if we could all do it then it wouldn't be that special for very long. Bionics are coming though.
According to an article on CNN.com "Are Bionic Superhumans On The Horizon?" those with bionic limbs are already among us. Not 6 Million Dollar man kinds of limbs yet but recently amputee Zac Vawter used a thought-controlled bionic leg to climb all 103 floors of Chicago's Willis Tower. Engineers are also working on military applications like exo-skeletons that will assist soldiers in hiking and climbing thus easing the stress on troops legs and backs (where most soldiers non-shooting injuries occur).
This technology has the power to improve the lives of the ill and people with disabilities and will potentially make our soldiers faster, stronger and more lethal. So far however, most computer enhanced prosthetics are somewhat clunky and uncomfortable but as the technology improves moral and ethical questions will come into play such as should we allow people with perfectly fine limbs to replace them with artificial limbs that are stronger and more durable. Vision of the Borg from Star Trek come to mind. I can't imagine replacing limbs that don't need replacing (too creepy) but by the time exoskeletons affordable on a budget come out I can't wait for the day I'll be able to leap buildings in a single bound!