Making a Difference

My Personal and Professional views

A Kick off for the Future – Or – Steve Austin Hits the Strrets

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In January of 1974 Astronaut Steve Austin recovered from his tragic test flight to become the world’s first Bionic Man. The only thing more incredible at the time than a man who could run 60 miles an hour, have telescopic vision, and pick up a car with one hand, was the fact that it could be done for a mere 6 million dollars.

As a long time Science Fiction fan that truly believes in Science Reality, I have been waiting and hoping for the first real bionic man to hit the stage. It appears that the dreams of Martin Caidin the author of Cyborg the inspiration for the Six Million Dollar Man, are coming true today.

Raytheon, working on behalf of DARPA, is working on the third generation Cyber Soldier. Here is a video of Gen 2.

While I am thrilled that engineers are developing powerful, light weight limbs and muscle controlled exoskeletons, what really thrills me and gets me tremendously excited are the advanced in brain controlled devices.

After all, if we can control things with our minds we are mere steps away from another substantial evolutionary step in mankind and science.

Using the price tag for the Brain Controlled Prosthetic leg, Steve Austin would more likely be the 32 Million-Dollar Man and this would still not include an improvement on the human eye.

What we are seeing unfold in front of us is truly 40 year-old science fiction coming to life. I believe that if we can dream it and conceive of a path then more than likely we can achieve it. We are all carrying Dick Tracy phones and soon we will be riding in self driving cars the we command with out thoughts instead of our hands and feet.

So this year do not be surprised to see the kick off at the World Cup in Brazil performed by a man who is paralyzed from the waist down, rising from his wheel chair, walking to a soccer ball, and then kicking it into the field.

In the years to come, scientists will improve the bandwidth between the brain and machines. Remember we use to send data 300 bits at a time and now we have networks that communicate at 100 billion bits per second. When we can achieve this type of throughput from our brains to processors or the Internet we can hardly even imagine what will be possible. How far away is this day and what impact will it have on society? Steve Austin would have been even more formidable if he could have tapped into the web, I hope to someday be able to do exactly that.


Written by Jim McNiel

May 27, 2014 at 6:59 pm

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