When over the past 5 years we have reported on the DARPA robotic arm (if you feel like it, the old site is available), we were talking about advanced prototypes: today we can talk, with satisfaction, about clinical tests: it is the future.
As recently as two weeks ago, the American health organizations approved the protocol that will allow volunteers to obtain the implantation of a bionic arm: in the front line, once again, soldiers wounded in the war. They will be the ones to experience the benefits of this new technology, and to help doctors and technicians to correct its inevitable defects.
Within 4 years we could find ourselves in a world that allows massive implants of bionic prostheses on the population: these are devices costing years of research and more than 100 million euros, is the best you can find today in the field of prosthetic design, robotics, and body-machine interfaces.
It is an event that will mark a giant leap in medicine and also in people's thinking, that will come close to the idea of a man able to 'increase' his life with technology.
We expect that a problem will finally be identified and transformed into a technological solution: it will not be an easy job to do, for the first time in the world of robotics and medicine they will be so close in analyzing the results. The step forward, however, is truly remarkable: The Food and Drug Administration has a much longer timeframe (about 10 years), and the 4-year forecast is already a great thing, if we take into account that clinical trials are not games but they serve to assure patients of the safety of what they are taking (in this case about what they are implanting).
Having resolved the doubts about the degradation of the microchips, the maintenance to be carried out and the risks of rejection, we will finally cut this ribbon: it will be the beginning of a different world.