New microscopic tech created at The University of Texas at Austin and Penn State University performs like a muscle. Here comes the age of advanced robots and prosthetics.
They found a new class of synthetic fibers that combine materials to contract. The aligned fibers resemble mammal muscles. Like muscles, they are efficient, strong, and rugged.
The materials can be used in a wide variety of environments including wet ones like inside the body. Because the material can be manufactured easily,
New materials like these could be used for creating advanced robotics and next-generation prosthetics. Almost as important, implanted material could replace or be interwoven into damaged muscle. Individuals who suffered strokes. Wounded veterans. Car accident survivors. Cancer victims. The list goes on.
While the tech needs more study, the age of augmented humans is coming far faster than we thought possible.
If these fibers can be mass-produced and linked together in larger strands, the future will sneak up on us, raising a variety of social issues.
Will augmented humans be allowed to play sports? Would it give them an unfair advantage? What about those who only regained mobility through the miracle of synthetic muscles? Or would there be a special category entirely for enhanced people?
What are the long-term health benefits or side effects of nanites? How about the possible environmental impacts of the widespread proliferation of nanotechnology?
Who will pay and how much will they pay for the implementation of tech like this? Will the technology be available only to the wealthy?
The technology could extend people's lives by extending their active years. As a result, our population could spike, particularly among the elderly, which would affect retirement, social security, environmental impact, cost of living, and more.
Perhaps, most important of all, how will the public react to technological humans? Could they be outlawed or discriminated against? In sports, the case can be made. One could argue that children should not be subjected to such "elective" surgeries.
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