Thursday, May 19, 2011

Boots made for walking

There must be something in the Weltgeist or the Zeitschmerz or something. You hang around for ages waiting for powered self-steering computerised leg-prostheses / walking machines, and then three come along at once. Artificial legs, basically, with spaces where the non-happening appendages of a T10-L1 paraplegic can fit.

I am wondering how well the business model has been thought out. The conceptual coolness of walking machines appeals to the commenters at the gadget sites like Boing Boing and Wired, who are unlikely to provide a large customer base unless they become significantly lazier. Also the balance and the feedback on these things will have to improve considerably to speed them up so that teams of testosterone-crazed paraplegic athletes can crash into one another with bone-crunching force in a combination of Murderball and Robotjox.


I am also concerned whether sufficient attention has been paid to the possible consequences of the remote-control joystick for the robot legs falling into the clutches of a ruthless jewel-thieving penguin.

Perhaps there will be more of a market for other body parts that have lost their function for some reason and need a powered external skeleton.
UPDATE: By sticking with two legs the designers have made their task harder, since bipedal gaits are continuous controlled falls that need a lot of processor time. If I were strapping my paralyzed lower body into a robotic exoskeleton, I would feel a lot more stable with a lateral extension and an extra pair of legs at the back. Also: Faster movement, more room for batteries, and the option of pannier bags to bring the shopping home.

You would think there would be actual blueprints for centaur-style body extensions out there on the Internizzle, but THERE ARE NOT, and I'm sorry Stelarc but a third arm is not all that.* Perhaps it is time to invoke Rule 34 and shop around for my future prosthesis.

Come to think of it, there is no reason to stop at four legs.


* Note to self: Be polite to Stelarc, he has laser eyes.

UPDATE2: Fixed the borked "Rule 34" link.

15 comments:

vacuumslayer said...

Boots that serve any sort of sensible purpose are for big dummies.

77south said...

All this fuss about robot exoskeletal legs can stop now. This story just made them obsolete:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13444036

Substance McGravitas said...

Have you seen the movie Wild Wild West? It is a great movie and I recommend you buy a copy now - no, two copies - on the most expensive format you can find.

mikey said...

Something built on a platform similar to this, I presume.

Of course, you create a significant and unnecessary challenge when you insist that legs can only be replaced by equivalent electro-mechanical appendages. For my cripple-remediation dollar, give me an all-terrain tracked base unit, and as long as your at it, mount a Mk. 19 Grenade Launcher to that bad boy.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

If I were strapping my paralyzed lower body into a robotic exoskeleton, I would feel a lot more stable with a lateral extension and an extra pair of legs at the back.

I'd opt for a giant, robotic gastropod "foot" so I could climb walls and leave a trail of synthetic slime.

You would think there would be actual blueprints for centaur-style body extensions out there on the Internizzle, but THERE ARE NOT, and I'm sorry Stelarc but a third arm is not all that.* Perhaps it is time to invoke Rule 34 and shop around for my future prosthesis.

A few years back, I read an article called "the edge of the internet" (can't be arse remembering which site), which had a couple of SFW images from a centaur pr0n site (I seem to remember the site referred to their Perissodactyl pinups as "ponytaurs"). The same article was my first introduction to "Confurvatives".

Whale Chowder said...

Careful, with your last couple of images you're venturing into Perdido Street Station territory and unless you're prepared to join the Iron Council I suggest you stop right where you are.

FYI, w/v tells me you're currently standing at the semedge.

vacuumslayer said...

Have you seen the movie Wild Wild West?


IT'S A TRICK!

mikey said...

Did you check out that Pharonic Bas Relief?

'Cause, look, I'm a forward thinking individual, and I figure everybody should be able to live their life how they want. I'm OK with the doods having each having their own attendant hairdressers, even if they are carrying purses and have overly developed calf muscles (what's that all about, anyway?), but what's the one on the left doing?

With his left hand.

Yeah.

That's what I thought.

Carry on...

tigris said...

Needs more gestiefelten Katen.

Smut Clyde said...

Tigris triggered Vacuumslayer!!

Smut Clyde said...

Something built on a platform similar to this, I presume.

Oh my that is impressive.

I'd opt for a giant, robotic gastropod "foot" so I could climb walls and leave a trail of synthetic slime.

I did not say anything about centipedes.
I was wondering about the standing of centaur petishists within the wider furry community. Are they viewed with askance, for being a bit freaky and unrealistic with body image issues?

Another Kiwi said...

Big Dog is rather impressive. Where do the little people that drive it, sit?

I would classify myself as centaur left if that is any help.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I did not say anything about centipedes.

The first pupil of the Poison Clan informed me that he sha'n't be back.

I would classify myself as centaur left if that is any help.

You can't Pholus, the Chiron running at the bottom of the screen identified you as a Taury.

Another Kiwi said...

You can't Pholus, the Chiron running at the bottom of the screen identified you as a Taury.
I wath hoping that you would myth that

M. Bouffant said...

Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you Kegasus.

Yes, that's what they called it, but it's a centaur.