Posted on 29th February 2012
To boldly explore the leap forward in ideas and technology that integrate humans and robotic devices, Endolite inaugurated the first Man and Machine Conference on the 29th February. The programme, at the Royal College of Physicians in London, included a morning of technical papers and workshops on the latest computerised prosthetic devices with live demonstrations and discussions with a group of users of microprocessor controlled prosthetic knees and feet. The afternoon papers explored the world of Transhumanism, Cybernetics and individual journeys rehabilitation using prosthetic devices.
Guest speakers included Professor Kevin Warwick, the world’s leading expert in Cybernetics talking about the ground breaking set of scientific experiments in which neural implants made him the first Cyborg, able to communicate with computer devices direct from his neurones. In a fascinating lecture he demonstrated how organic computers developed using brain cells learn to control their proprioceptive environment, how scientists use their own bodies for neural experiments and how neural stimulators are being used to help individuals with Parkinson’s Disease regain the ability to control their body and communicate with dignity and humour.
Stuart Hughes, BBC Foreign Affairs Journalist, gave a personal account of his journey from losing a limb in a landmine explosion, through prosthetics and rehabilitation to the point where he recently completed his latest ‘hostile environments refresher course for journalists working in war zones.’ He was jumping in and out of ditches, crawling away from gunfire and running away from simulated mortar attacks on the Endolite Echelon VT Foot and nobody realised he was an amputee until he told them.
The Man and Machine theme was a perfect setting for the release of some new computer controlled foot technology. The élan foot is programmed to the individual and mimics human motion for effortless walking on any chosen terrain, ramps, stairs, speed changed, the usual variety in an active life. Conference workshops highlighted the technology with attendees trying out the technology and programming the foot live on demonstrators.