In the immensely advanced technological world of today, we are all familiar with the word “augmentation”. And many people just know that augmentation is somewhat of a concept about using technology in a very advanced way. But they don’t have knowledge about what augmentation really means. Especially when it comes to human augmentation.
Let’s dig into what augmentation is first.
The word itself seems complex, but the literal meaning is very clear and straight to understand.
Basically, augmentation means adding a particular gadget to an already existing thing to enhance its capability to perform any task.
It can be used to support the way a particular thing functions.
And now you may wonder how it must deal with the human body and why this technology is called human augmentation, right?
So, every day you may come across people who are physically challenged. You feel pity for their condition and feel helpless.
Usually, we yearn to help them or find a solution for them whenever we see them.
But there’s not much you or even a doctor can do, right?
So, this is when a technology called “human augmentation” comes into play.
The human body and augmentation technology are brought together to perform special or day-to-day life tasks.
And as we all know from the beginning, any invention in technology is equal to a human job made easy.
Enhancement in human life has always been possible due to technology. Now this technology has become beyond life and economic purpose.
When it comes to human augmentation, technology can be a part of the human body.
We often observe people using various devices to simplify their daily lives.
And we don’t even know that those things are nothing but human-augmented tools.
1. How Human Augmentation Came into Existence?
People lose some of their body parts in accidents, or sometimes they must get rid of them to prevent the diseases from spreading throughout the whole body.
And sometimes, due to age, the human body faces many challenges and can’t function normally.
These issues are not new to us; humans have been in a problem for a long time. So, now you might be wondering why human augmentation wasn’t applied earlier, right?
It was not that people were just accepting their condition and living with it.
In many groundworks, people have discovered artificial wooden limbs or fingers.
Earlier, people used to find ways to replace infected body parts like hands, feet, or even toes.
They used to make it out of wood, but it wasn’t that helpful due to a lack of technology.
But now altering and augmenting human body parts is made achievable due to cutting-edge technology.
Back in time, people used to make tools that would help them complete any task and make their lives easier.
After which there was a time when humans just needed to turn on the switch of the machines and work was done with their assistance.
And now technology and the human body are altered together for a more enhanced experience.
The definition of human beings will be changed with this technology.
Due to human augmentation, human capabilities will now expand beyond their biological limit.
Moreover, until now, we have only seen techno humans in scientific movies and games.
The era of techno humans emerging from the realm of science is now around us.
The line between fiction and the real world is now slowly getting erased, or it’s fading away.
This fading line may have some negative effects, but moreover, human augmentation has come into existence to save the lives of hundreds of people, no matter what their problem is.
2. Human Augmentation Is a Part of Our Daily Lives
Human augmentation tools become part of how you recognize or identify other people, or how they identify you in the crowd or from the list of people they know.
There might be a particular old man, whom you see every morning in the park doing yoga. And you would have observed that he wears a hearing device.
And while talking about him or mentioning him in the conversation, you identify him as “a grandpa who wears hearing aids”.
Or there might be a small boy, who takes the support of an artificial hand while doing any task.
And you might recognize him as “a boy with a prosthetic hand”.
That hearing aid device and prosthetic hand are nothing but tools of human augmentation.
Prosthetic body parts are fixed in such a way that they get connected with brain nerves, which send signals to do any movement.
Prosthetic body parts are the most common and in-demand tool of human augmentation.
In 300 B.C. first prosthetic leg was manufactured in Italy and was known as the “Capua Leg”.
This prosthetic leg was made from bronze and wood, and it was attached to the body through leather straps.
This wooden leg was just for basic support, and due to a lack of technology back then, its functions were also limited.
But now prosthetic limbs, hands, etc. are made with good quality metal that has a suction valve suspension system, a fibre socket, a pylon, and a washable inner liner, which helps the body move easily.
The whole idea of human augmentation might appear like something out of a futuristic film.
But slowly, technology is turning fiction into fact.
This human augmentation is not only the physical body but also the cognitive part.
This alteration of the human body will remove the fear of losing any body parts in an accident.
3. Types of Human Augmentation
Before jumping into various types of human augmentation, people might get confused between human augmentation and Biohacking.
Biohacking is based on implanted technology.
Various technological devices are implanted in the body, like bionic eyes, altered DNA, or microchips.
Whereas Human augmentation focuses more on technology that can be attached to or altered in the body.
However, there are significant differences between every innovation, ultimately, they all serve to improve the human body.
Types of human augmentation are:
This type of human augmentation mainly focuses on the “replacement” concept.
This concept is based on devices that are used to replace any missing body parts.
Infected or missing parts of the body are often replaced or changed by prosthetic parts.
Be it legs, hands, joints, eyes, or even false teeth, all come under prostheses.
It’s a wearable device that covers almost your whole body. It works like an external skeleton, as the name suggests.
It is used to provide support and assistance for the body’s movement and enhance the capability of how the human body functions.
As of now, exoskeletons are used for military purposes and in a few companies to enhance the capabilities of employees.
And it is not accessible to all but in the future, it might be.
3.3. Smart Headband
Smart headbands are nothing but smart glasses. This may work by giving vision to visually impaired or blind people.
This concept of human augmentation is used to improve brain-computer interfacing through visual communication.
Normal people can use this to gain information or follow any instructions given by the authority at the workplace.
3.4. Smart Gloves
Super gloves, or smart gloves, are devices that have power and a sensor at the end of the fingertips.
It can make hand movement easier and give extra power. This can be a useful device for Arthritis patients.
Human augmentation is a vast concept, but each element or device that comes under this concept can help humans in one way or another.
The need for human augmentation has developed because people have always suffered after losing some or other capability related to their bodies.
And the demand for human augmentation will increase in the future because of its results.
Everyone strives to enjoy life to its greatest in our busy world by making their lives easier and happier.
This human augmentation won’t only improve physical abilities but will also enhance intellectual capability.
Techno Human, Human 2.0, or Superhuman, will be the names given to people who would use any human augmentation-related devices.
As mentioned earlier, the definition of a human being is going to change in the future.
In today’s world, people recognize or identify each other based on their looks or what type of personality they have.
But in five years, people will be able to recognize each other based on the kind of human augmentation tools they are wearing.
Due to human augmentation, people won’t be dependent on others, especially on robots to get things done.
Now that we are guaranteed how human augmentation can play a huge role in improving the cognitive and physical aspects of the human body.
So, isn’t it obvious that this technology will turn into a business?
Yes, of course, as human augmentation will be accessible to everyone soon, it will turn into a business market.
But the manufacturer must keep in mind why this technology was invented.
Instead of emptying the pockets of needy people, they should sell the product with the intention of helping them.