He’s using the Ekso™:
A wearable bionic suit which enables individuals with any amount of lower extremity weakness to stand up and walk over ground with a natural, full weight bearing, reciprocal gait. Walking is achieved by the user's weight shifts to activate sensors in the device which initiate steps.
That's incredible, of course – not to say profoundly moving. And what’s perhaps even more extraordinary is that the exoskeleton's makers, Ekso Bionics, say it will soon be on the market for as little as $100,000. At this price point those shadowy government types could rebuild Steve Austin for a few hundred grand.
Except that what Mr Capps' video reveals is not just that a tetraplegic man is capable now of walking; it also reminds us how tentative this motion remains. It's the triumph of arriving at a finish line, only to realise we have several hundred more laps to go. This tension, between possibility and realism, is central to this story – and my seemingly trivial question about the cost of a bionic man touches on something vital.
The thing that's been revalued in these TV and movie titles, from $6m in 1973 to $6bn today, is not, of course, a real technology. These sums are in fact a measure of how wide we set the bounds of the possible at these two points in time. In some ways these bounds are set as wide today as they've ever been. The visions of Tomorrow’s World have been outpaced by the break-neck evolution of computing. These days some new piece of magic arrives every fortnight, packaged into a press release from Mountain View, California. Google – or I guess now I should say Alphabet – has billions on hand to fund its dreams of intelligent homes and self-driving cars. The visions of Elon Musk seem copied and pasted directly from the pages of Amazing Science Fiction. Things that were the stuff of science fiction in the 60's are commonplace commodities today. Our phones and watches have outstripped Homo Artificialis – and nobody needs to hang thirty pounds of bakelite around their necks get this functionality. Some would say this makes every one of us a cyborg. But still: the dream of a machine-enhanced superman? Ever more distant.
Zeno’s Achilles, in his efforts to overtake the Tortoise, always needed to cross half of the remaining gap; leaving victory ever out of reach. In the same way, with every step we take towards integrating man and machine, we find ourselves ever further from the dream of a man-machine hybrid that moves and soars with superhuman grace.
Especially given how demanding we've become in our visions of the future. The surge in technology has raised the bar for our imagination. CGI brings machinery to fluid life in summer blockbusters, from the liquid beauty of the T-1000 to the delicious clack click clack of Tony Stark’s armour assembling itself around him. Hardly surprising that we've raised our expectations over just how cool a bionic man should be. A slo-mo Lee Majors in a red tracksuit, even with flashy lights embedded in his forearm, won't cut it any more. T6B$M will need to deliver bigger and better than even last summer's Age of Ultron or Terminator: Genesys. Our cyborg dreams are engaged in an arms race with the movie studios.
So it seems that since The Six Million Dollar Man, we’ve become more demanding – and at the same time more pessimistic – about what it means to fuse ourselves with technology. I think it's these opposing forces of our expectations, possibility and realism, that have together raised the fictional cost of a bionic man several hundred times faster than the price of a tin of beans. This is just as true of a dozen other predicted futures I read about in those futurist tomes, be it weather control, under-sea colonies or anti-gravity (hoverboards, anyone?) To the futurists of fifty years ago, the only question was how many decades it would take for such things to be made real: one? two? surely five at most. Now those concepts seem like naive fictions; or at best, very distant realities. But still we can dream, and we choose to dream big.
So you know what? I'll be first in line to see The Six Billion Dollar Man when it lands on some giant screen near me. I don't care how bad the film is. I mean: bionic Mark Wahlberg? Come on!
...miraculously saved from fire which occurred on Februeary 10, 1964. Moreover, the first batch of graduates under Medical technology was presented in 1965. At this time, ICC was the only school in Mindanao offering Medical Technology and Pharmacy courses. After the negotiations were finally completed in1967 for the exchange of the Bishop’s Residence in Fr. Selga with the buildings of ICC at San Pedro-Bolton-Claveria site, construction was in full blast and made the possible construction of the new imposing edifice. Furthermore, in 1970 to 1976, ICC High School Department became one of the PAASCU accredited schools and more courses were offered as the newly completed six-storey building was blessed and inaugurated. Successfully, ICC got its first formal accreditation for the three programs, namely, Liberal Arts, Education and Commerce in 1976. And after then, they celebrated its Diamond Jubilee. On December 6, 1986, the six-storey building and gymnasium at Bonifacio St. Was blessed and inaugurated. It housed the Engineering, Liberal Arts and Education Programs. Later on, in 1992, DECS Sec. Isidro granted ICC the University Status with the name “University of the Immaculate Conception” (UIC). Under the Presidency of S. Ma. Jacinta de Belen in 1994 to 1999, additional courses were opened, UIC was granted Level III by PAASCU and M. Ma. Assumpta David was reassigned as President of UIC. In 20’s, “E-Learning Program” was launched and...