Week 6 Biotech by Adriana Rosas

 

This week’s lecture topic was very interesting. I never realized the amount of influence that biotechnology on Hollywood movies. I suppose the reason would be that biotechnology is constantly evolving so there is a lot of room for imagining new and “out of this world” technology. During discussion, we talked a little bit about how in Star Wars Episode V: the Emperor Strikes Back Luke Skywalker loses his arm while battling the evil Darth Vader. In the end of the 1980 movie, however, his arm is replaced by a robotic one allowing his to once again have two functioning limbs. I’m sure that people during the time of this movie were in awe of this surgery as the concept of a robotic prosthetic arm did not exist. Through this, I found it rather interesting how the concept of a prosthetic arm has evolved with the help of developing technology.

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The whole idea of “fake body parts” started during the time of the ancient Egyptians. Archeologists found artificial toes on mummies, however, it is not known if these toes were used during the mummy’s life. During the 15th and 16th centuries the concept of prosthetics that we know today were discovered. These prosthetic limbs also started off as being produced by metal and then evolved to be made from wood, which is a much lighter option. It was not until the 19th century that artificial limbs where popularly used as the amount of wars increased. Prosthetics continued to improve due to the  increase in government funds and the discovery of anesthetics.

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Prosthetic limbs have come a long way since the time of the ancient Egyptians. Robotic limbs have been discovered and are now able to be controlled by the amputee’s mind. This latest breakthrough is a robotic prosthetic limb that is operated by one’s thoughts from the brain that are sent to a computer by a set of electrodes. Scientists hope that this discovery will lead to the development of mind controlling artificial limbs or wheelchairs for people with total paralysis such as people with motor neurone disease or spinal injuries.

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