Neuroprosthetic Outline

Introduction: Define neuroprosthetics as a type of prosthetic that can help people with certain disabilities to move and use the limbs that they are no longer able to use to do daily activities. Explain the growth of research and the growth of popularity as neuroprosthetics are starting to become a more common technology in performing day to day tasks. Neuroprosthetics can aid in the betterment of many people’s lives.

About Neuroprosthetics (the technological aspect of it): Go into more detail about the step by step process of how neuroprosthetics work (how the brain is able to send signals to the prosthetic limb and in turn cause it to do what the person wants it to do). Include the function of electrodes and nerves in the process of neuroprosthetic signaling. Also include the level of accuracy neuroprosthetics are at (ex: being able to raise the prosthetic and catch and throw something, but not being able to move as quickly as when using a fully functioning arm or use fingers in more complex situations).

The Medium is the Massage: Incorporate ideas from McLuhan’s work in describing the “message” neuroprosthetics gives off. It gives off hope to many people as a way to get back into the swing of things after a limb is lost or once they get a disability. Many people may be curious about it, and they tend to stare (as they do with people with diseases or disabilities). If the neuroprosthetic becomes more common, will it change the message people receive to being something more positive? Will it be viewed as just another technology or at some point in time will it be looked at as “just another part of the body?”

How neuroprosthetics are changing lives: Include stories from people who have neuroprosthetics and include what types of people would aid from them (people who have strokes, who have become paralyzed, who have lost a limb, etc.) Describe the effect on their lives (is life easier because of the neuroprosthetics or harder because they have to get used to a new technology?)

Room to grow: Neuroprosthetics are still not perfect and can use a lot of improvement (they lack the complexity of fully functioning limbs, like being able to type on a computer or feel a difference in temperature). Many complain about the lack of sensation using a prosthetics, which causes difficulties when it comes to holding items (like not knowing how tight to hold it). Their extensive use of technology causes them (like any other prosthetic) to be expensive, meaning not everyone who needs them is able to get them. Hopefully with more research, neuroprosthetics can become more common and available to people (as society learns more about the brain and about the technology that is used to make neuroprosthetics).

Conclusion: Answer the questions: where do we go from here? What steps can people in a community take to give people who need neuroprosthetics this technology? How intricate can the technology become? Include how far we have come with this technology and the continuous potential there is for growth in it.

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