Meaning of Bionic
Bionic devices are electronic or electromechanical implant devices that are used to mainly replace missing or damaged body parts. These bionic devices are made to have the exact physiological functions as the original body part and are sometimes made to even exceed the functions of the original body part. This defines the medical aspect of bionics.
Just like the infamous superhuman, Cyborg, that is featured in movies who was injured and had most of his body parts replaced with bionics which gave him extraordinary capabilities. That is an instance of bionic application most of us are familiar with.
Bionic technology has advanced through the years, from developing electromechanical limbs to eyesight to a tongue with advanced taste buds and even bionic implants for internal organs. This has been a real breakthrough in technology due to its amazing advantages. It has given a lot of disabled and fatally injured patients second chances in life and the ability to go out into the world and perform daily tasks like an average person.
How do bionics work in the human body?
Bionic devices are built with sensors in them, so they work by detecting and receiving electrical signals from the user’s body and responding to them. For example, bionic limbs detect electrical signals released by the user’s muscles and then respond by performing the intended motion.
Remarkable Applications of Bionic Technology
Some of the accomplishments in bionic technology include:
1. Bionic eye implants
This helps patients who have lost their sight or some of their retinal function. An epiretinal prosthesis is surgically placed in the eye which receives images from the small digital camera installed on a special pair of glasses worn by the patient. This bionic eye works better for patients who could once see and it doesn’t restore the person’s eyesight completely.
2. Bionic Exoskeleton
This assists patients who are recovering from a serious injury (e.g. spinal cord injury), paralysis, or a medical condition that causes walking disabilities. This tech allows them to walk again. It is a suit that is inbuilt with motion sensors which detect movements from the user’s body and enables them to walk in a natural way like an able-bodied person.
3. Bionic artificial heart
This is used by patients who are expecting a heart transplant. The artificial heart is powered by batteries and mimics the functions of the original human heart. This device has not been acknowledged for permanent usage for patients that cannot have a heart transplant.
4. Bionic hands with a sense of feeling
This bionic hand is so advanced that it makes its users feel and identify objects. There is a neural interface which enables the user’s nervous system to be linked with the enhanced sensors that are implanted in the device. It allows sensory information to be passed from the hand to the brain so it can be interpreted and the feeling of the object can be recognized. The connection also makes the user achieve difficult hand and finger movements.
5. Bionic earbuds technology
This is used to amplify hearing abilities and provide a hearing aid. It delivers hearing abilities that are more than an average person with the use of microphones embedded in the earbuds which send sounds into the ears through a digital signal processor. The earbuds give users the choice of muting or increasing selected sounds, noise cancellation, bass adjustments and much more.
6. Advanced prosthetic limbs
These bionic limbs help restore the patient’s motor functions. The motor nerves formerly connected to the missing limb will connect the prosthetic limb to the patient’s brain. Therefore when the user intends to move, flex or grasp, the limb picks up electric signals from his muscles then motor nerves send signals to the prosthetic limb from the brain which enables the patient to move like an average person.
7. Artificial tasting
This is an electronic tongue made mostly for food companies and businesses. It assists in maintaining the exact taste, chemical compositions and flavours of food products. The device was developed by an electrical engineer, Dean Neikirk, and his team. The electric tongue contains microspheres which are tiny sensors with a colour indicator that changes colour whenever it recognizes the targeted taste or chemical.