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The Science of Neuroprosthetics

            Neuroprosthetics (also called neural prosthetics) is a discipline related to neuroscience and biomedical engineering concerned with developing neural prostheses. Neural prostheses are a series of devices that can substitute a motor, sensory or cognitive modality that might have been damaged as a result of an injury or a disease. CEO and President of MicroTransponder (a company specializing in neurostimulation technology), Will Rosellini, says that neuroprosthetic augmentation is only about twenty years away. Imagine a world driven by the concept of human augmentation and where these advancements in neuroprosthetics might take mankind. Is mankind really ready for this? The widespread use of human augmentations will be the result of neuroprosthetic implants becoming commercially available to everyone. As time progresses, neuroprosthetics will negatively affect the economy and society. There will be those who exploit neuroprosthetics for their own gain and others who oppose the concept of human augmentation all together. The launch of neuroprosthetics will ultimately lead to a painful transition into a future where humans biomechanically enhance themselves to overcome biological limitations.
             The era of neuroprosthetic augmentation is coming sooner than one might think. Research dating as far back as the late 1800s has laid the groundwork for the wide scale adoption of augmentations like the cardiac pacemaker, which sends electricity into the heart, and the cochlear implant, which stimulates the cochlear by electricity. Over one million augmentations are in production; most of which are being used for medical purposes. According to Will Rosellini, the practice of neuroprosthetic augmentation will arrive in about twenty years. With the arrival of this new technology it would take about an additional 10 years for most implantable neuroprosthetics to get to market. Aside from the medicinal and more practical uses of neuroprosthetics (like replacing a limb or damaged sensory organ), convenience and accessibility may very well be the most influential motive for buying neuroprosthetics.

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