2006-03-05

Anakin's Hand

As seen here, we're not too far from Star Wars-quality prosthetics, and better ones soon after. Sure it isn't made of durasteel, but it will enable fine control. Although I can't immediately find a reference of Anakin's hand containing sensory feedback systems (though he could clench his hand so hard that the electronic feedback would make his shoulder ache, per the RoTS novel, he didn't have "pain sensors"), the new bionic hands will have that capability.

Further, the hands will (like early-model Terminators) feature a false covering designed to mimic human flesh. In other words, no need for a black glove to cover up shiny metal.

Of course this will all cost some coin, and probably won't be readily available for a decade or more. I'd imagine also that some sort of power system is required, though presumably the same is true of Anakin's hand (given Vader's many systems). Given our power tech I'm sure there will be need of recharging. However, that's hardly a vast improvement.

Of course, a few decades after this becomes available, I'd bet that instead of all this bionics we'd rather simply use cloned body parts. You don't have to create a complete lifeform, after all . . . cell differentiation is what makes organs and pieces to begin with. Replicating that will take a bit more effort than just growing a whole new human being, but it won't be impossible. However, Star Wars seems not to possess that technology for some reason, which is quite odd given the cloning elsewhere.

Of course Trek is no exception to this oddity, what with Picard's bionic heart and Nog's "biosynthetic" leg. I'm not even sure what a biosynthetic leg is, exactly, but it sounds like instead of cloned Nog-parts they used either a forced-growth setup (a la the new arm of Swamp Thing from the movie of the same name), or attached something which adapted itself to Nog's leg requirements, or else some sort of android-like leg composed largely of biomaterial and not all artificial bits like Data, or something else altogether. Nog was gone to a starbase for a time to get the procedure done, though, so it apparently isn't as fast a job as Luke's hand seemed to be.

However, since Anakin's hand presumably had all the time in the world to get installed, it seems that limb replacement is generally more advanced in Trek, whereas Star Wars limb replacement in the Republic era topped out at a level of tech comparable to mid-21st Century Earth.

8 comments:

  1. Their batteries are certainly much nicer than ours, though. That's going to be the main difference.

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  2. It TESB, Luke's hand was covered in something resembling human flesh.


    Michael

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  3. Couldn't the technology be developed to run the bionics off human bioelectric energy?

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  4. Possibly, but therein lies another problem: providing enough energy. Bionics are not like our own limbs: they take up a great deal of energy. Consider it like moving a single hand versus running a mile long race: that, while probably with some exxageration, is about the level of energy used. You'd have to be downing more food than a pie-eating contestant at a carnival just to be doing normal stuff.

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  5. ...

    (Must... Resist.. Bad.. Pun... Mind.. Too weak...)

    That neatly explains just why all these SF dudes are so nice and thin doesn't it?

    Deanna Troi probably has some 'bionic implants' for the very purpose of eating a ton of chocolate each day.

    Sorry, couldn't resist after all.

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  6. Luke's hand not only looked perfectly human, but it had SENSATION just like a real hand as well, as shown when the medical droid was testing its sensory-function.

    This brings up a big question: how did the Empire get so much more advanced in 30 years, than in all the thousands of years of the prior galactic civilization?

    After all, Darth Vader and General Grievous were crude piles of scrap-metal, despite being in power, and thereby having all the money in the galaxy; but Luke-- a rebel without a cent-- can get a PERFECTLY life-like hand?

    WTF?

    I just don't get it.

    Did the Empire work SO well, that it advanced medical science that far in only 30 years?

    If so, WHY WERE THEY FIGHTING IT?

    Otherwise, why didn't Vader just use the same medical-droids that Luke used, and get a whole new body made? Why the rasping armor-suit, face-mask and helmet, which he could only take off in a special chamber?

    I DON'T GET IT!

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  7. Another thing: why couldn't they just RE-ATTACH Anakin's hand-- like we can do TODAY?

    If today's Earth paramedics had arrived instead of the Empire's, then Anakin's hand, arms, and legs could ALL have been simply re-attached. And then they could simply do some skin-grafts from those.

    So we're AHEAD of the Empire's medicine.

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  8. "Bionics are not like our own limbs: they take up a great deal of energy."

    But food supplies HUGE amounts of energy; the human body is simply very inefficient in its metabolication. According to http://blogs.zdnet.com/emergingtech/?p=411, eating one chocolate kiss provides enough energy to lift an 8,600 pound SUV over six feet into the air.

    So given that ratio, a bionic Deanna Troi could single-handedly move an entire Starship across the galaxy.

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