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Bionic Tech Roundup: Robot Hands and The Six Million Dollar Dick Cheney

We’re a few steps closer to the Six Million Dollar Man or the Bionic Woman, people. We can almost rebuild them. We kinda have the technology.

For proof, check out 18-year-old Michael Waldron, who recently became one of just ten people in the U.S. to receive a brand-new bionic hand.

Michael was born with a physical defect on his right hand, essentially leaving him with no fingers…a problem that the bionic hand will solve. The prosthesis works by sensing which muscles in the forearm the user is flexing and responding with a pinch or a full grip. I would’ve hoped that the thing had been made out of titanium, so he could give anyone who ever made fun of him a solid robo-punch to the face.

Speaking of faces, the FDA recently approved a telescopic implant for those with macular degeneration. Translation: they stick a lens in your eyeball.

I used to cringe a bit if I saw someone putting in a contact lens. Incidentally, this has given me nightmares. But I think I’d bite the bullet and take one if they could give me 10x optical zoom and the ability to take 720p HD video. It’d be about as close to Futurama’s EyePhone as we can get.

Here’s a fun fact you can share with your friends: Dick Cheney probably has no pulse.

The former VP (and, I’m convinced, Sith Lord) had a ventricular assist device implanted to help his weak heart…but this pump forgoes mimicry of the usual thump-thump in your ribcage in favor of continuously cycling the blood in a steady stream. Hungry yet, vampires?

With all that machinery in him, I wonder if…


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  1. All totally awesome, Keely! Thanks!

  2. Keely says:

    Or if you’re really sticking to the robot theme there is always the Robotic Leg unit out of New Zealand for paraplegics:

  3. Keely says:

    Very cool stuff indeed… but you did omit some of the equally cutting edge advances with just as much ‘cool-factor’…

    The Tongue Display Unit that uses a 144 pixel sensor on the tongue to allow blind people to ‘see’… (

    EEG controlled Brain-Computer-Interfaces for profoundly disabled people – literally using their thought patterns to control the computer…

    Even the more rudimentary Eye-Gaze technology for communication programs and basic computer use for profoundly disabled people ( Having seen this one in action with children as young as 3, I can attest to a very high ‘wow’ component…

    Indeed it is a very promising time to be struggling with physical disabilities… I can’t wait to see what is on the horizon!

  4. Luanne says:


  5. Sawyer says:

    “The former VP (and, I’m convinced, Sith Lord)”
    Come on now, even Sith Lords aren’t that evil.

    And as to the bionic arm and telescopic implant, someone’s making sure it’s not Cyberdyne systems behind all this, right?

  6. Who would have thought we’d be looking back at the Bush presidency as Cheney’s cuddly relate-able period.