Biotechnology now outpaces the bodies we were born with. Today, we can give ourselves additional senses or improve the ones we've got, and we can heighten our strength while also building limbs better than the breakable ones most of us have. Here's a gallery of all the human enhancements that will be improving lives - or just making life more interesting - in the next few decades.
After losing an eye in a car accident, Taya Vlach has turned to KickStarter to raise money to install a waterproof eye, capable of transmitting video, zooming, capturing still images, and hopefully, facial recognition, ultraviolet, and infrared capabilities.
Bionic contact lenses, which could be used one day for anything from projecting a HUD in daily use to a video game device (CC).
Wafaa Bilal, an NYU professor, has a video camera implanted in the rear of his skull for his project, "The 3rd I". The camera implantation was rejected by his body, but he is seeking out other methods by which to carry out the project (AP).
Body modification artist Steve Haworth shows off the use of him implanted magnet in a 2006 Wired article. The implanted magnets will be rejected by the body if they are continuously used to lift objects, however, their presence can provide additional sensory input to the user. This video shows an individual with implants from Haworth manipulating metal objects.
A surgery in progress to install a deep brain stimulation implant, which aids in Parkinson's disease. The placement of the lead portion of the implant dictates the therapeutic possibilities (CC).
A user of a continuous track chair makes his way over a beach (Action Track Chair).
(±)-2-(benzhydrylsulfinyl)acetamide, more commonly called Modafinil and prescribed for narcolepsy, has an off label use that deemed one Nature article to call it "The Professor's Little Helper" due to its ability to improve performance in the fatigued.
A father and daughter receive cochlear implants that were installed on the same day (AP).
An artist's rendering of a touch-sensitive electronic tattoo system in development from Phillips.
The Lokomat, a powered gait orthosis that moves the limbs of a stroke patient as the patient is suspended above a treadmill (Hocoma).
A blind man known as "Jerry," who had electrodes implanted in his brain in 1978, models a camera that is mounted onto a pair of glasses wired directly into his brain. Using a computer strapped to his hip and the tiny camera, Jerry can read large letters and navigate around objects in a room, in the first demonstration that an artificial eye can be useful int he field (AP).
A set of powered "legs" from Rex Bionics, controlled by the user via two joysticks.
A DiY piece of prosthetic equipment, a trans-tibial socket produced in 16 pieces using a Makerbot, shown as part of the Open Prosthetics Project.
This scent apparatus in development from Philips could be used to capture barely detectable scents and communicate those scents to other users.
A Vagus Nerve Stimulator, implanted by the Royal Children's Hospital of Melbourne for treatment of epilepsy and depression in children.
A 4x4 all-terrain powered wheelchair, capable of reaching a speed of up to nineteen miles per hour (Viking).
Mark Lesak, a pioneer in the DiY amputee community, displays one of the six arms he has created for himself after a car accident left him without a right shoulder joint and thus without a point to attach a prosthetic arm.
A retinal implant that would restore the function of lost retinal cells by electrically stimulating the nerve cells that normally carry visual input from the retina to the brain. The implant would not fully restore vision, but could aid individuals with retinitis pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration (MIT Technology Review).
A prototype for a body powered hook made out of Lego Technic parts proposed through the Open Prosthetics Project.
The wearer of Cyberdyne Inc.'s Robot Suit HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) lifts seventy-five pounds in rice bags with minimal exertion (AP).
An artist's rendition of an Implantable Miniature Telescope in use, an FDA approved technology which aids those with late stage end-stage age-related macular degeneration by increasing the image projected on the retina up to three fold (CentraSight).
A proposed biomimetic device that would mimic the signal processing function of hippocampus neurons and circuits under development by Theodore Berger's group at USC.
Aimee Mullins, a proponent of the beauty and advantages of prosthetics, competing in the long-jump at the 1996 Paralympics. For more on Aimee, check out her edition of io9's Portraits in Posthumanity.
An emotion sensor in development from Philips, which may benefit autistic individuals and the learning impaired in addition to conventional social uses.