Admit it, when the inevitable Cyborg revolution comes around, you figured it’d be in America, right? It seems like we should be first in attaching thought-controlled robot limbs on people. Heck, apart from a some Doctor Who baddies and Judge Dredd‘s Mean Machine Angel, I can’t really think of any non-American fictional cyborgs.
But it looks like Europe’s going to beat us to the metal-covered punch when it comes to commercially available cyborg limbs as German-based Otto Bock Healthcare is bringing its thought-controlled robot arm to market. It really is fully thought controlled, using nerves that used to control a regular arm rerouted to control the prosthetic in a process called targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR). It’s been used by double-amputee Christian Kandlbauer for the last six years. (Kandlebauer lost both arms after being electrocuted by 200,000 volts, which is cool in an entirely different, horrifying way.) Now, getting this thing on the market is the first step towards these things becoming commonplace…and then getting all the fancy add-on doodads that you’re looking for. Maybe that’s where America will shine in this cyborg marketplace…useless cool cyborg upgrades, like an giant Trap-Jaw-like class, ipods built into your wrist and spinning arm rims.