Saturday, January 31, 2009

They Won't Have To Hunt Us

So, we're using robots to help stroke victims regain their mobility.

It makes sense. I wouldn't want to spend my day watching someone do boring, repetitive motions to rebuild their muscle strength. In fact, it's so boring and repetitive that the stroke victims don't like doing it. The breakthrough in this case is that by involving virtual reality environments (read: having patients use the robot as a controller in a video game), stroke victims will work at the rehab exercises longer and regain function faster.

Sure, it sounds helpful at first. Until you think about what's in it for the robots. Not only will we be providing them with massive amounts of valuable data about how we move, where our mobility weaknesses are, and how we can be stopped from moving, but we're also giving them the chance to harm us directly. It's all fun and games physical therapy until the patient has his legs ripped off. We won't need faster robots that hunt us like dogs, we're already walking right into their cold metallic hands!

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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