Final Project Idea

As humans get older, our bodies grow frail and fail. Thus, we begin to rely on technology to improve our quality of life. From hearing aids and joint replacement surgery, to the use of wheelchairs for locomotion, humans rely on these mechanical objects to improve their quality of life. However, within our lifetimes it could be possible that mechanical body parts can soon be used to replace our own, to restore function and vitality. Some even believe that this “mechanization” of the body is inevitable and will become a reality.

It has already been shown that different body parts can be built and used when ours fail. Those with failing eyesight can get an implant that can restore some vision, analogous to how a leg amputee receives a prosthetic to walk. The implant is a telescopic eye, and it may not be just as good as an original eye it does provide vision.

Telescopic eye

Also, different body parts can already be grown in different labs, and though the parts are built with cells, I am sure that in the future metal parts could be used to replace these cells. Also, nanotechnology is becoming more advanced, with different nanomachines able to work and do simple tasks, from local delivery of drugs in the body to serving as a backup immune system. All of these may seem far from the building of mechanical body parts and organs, but it shows that technology is advancing enough that mechanical body parts are achievable. As shown before, different surgeries have already been used to replace worn out joints in the body with plastic and metal counterparts. Examples of this include hip replacements and even total knee replacements.

Total Knee Replacement

In popular culture, this idea has been portrayed in multiple ways. In the hit British TV show Doctor Who, there exists a warrior race called the Daleks that used to have biological body parts, but after realizing that the body does not last they moved to a robotic body, with their brains in the center and in control. In anime, shows like Cyborg 009 depict how mechanical body parts can be used to enhance the body with supernatural abilities and even give life to dying individuals. The most relevant to my topic of getting older, though, would be the use of automail in the Fullmetal Alchemist anime series. In the anime, different people suffer from missing limbs, so automail limbs is used to replace these limbs. These fully functional metal limbs have the same mobility as a regular arm. However, they do need maintenance and also have to be readjusted to a growing or aging individual.

Automail Arm from Fullmetal Alchemist Anime Series

I still have to research different artists whose art corresponds to this idea, but until then it can be seen that the mechanization of the body is an idea that merges current technology, medicine, and human biology. 

References:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/13/130415-replacement-body-parts-longevity-medicine-health-science/

http://www.moveforwardpt.com/image.axd?id=a76c6cb9-af42-40bc-bbad-f4fcd3c71f06

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1504/4722/products/ed__s_automail_study_by_hm_dragon_dreamer-d3kj6iy.jpg?v=1476393843