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On a fine line between medicine and robotics, biotech laboratories are developing increasingly perfected artificial limbs and organs to help paralytics and amputees recover their autonomy. Directly connected to living tissue (muscle, skin, nerve cells), and intuitively controlled by thought, these artificial limbs and high-tech implants are known as “man—machine interfaces”. The entire human body benefits from this worldwide revolution in bionics made possible by the miniaturization of electronic and robotic components, as well as scientific progress in the understanding of the nervous system, particularly the encoding of sensory information and motor control. Eye, arm, hand, leg, heart; the whole body is concerned. This story presents the patients and doctors who are erasing the boundaries between man and machine every day. Welcome to the world of bionics. The eye

The electronic retina: hope at the end of the tunnel A clinical test conducted since 2008 on 31 blind patients in five countries (France, Switzerland, Great Britain, USA, Mexico) has led to placing an implant made of 60 electrodes, connected to a video camera and a microprocessor, on the surface of the retina. Images taken by the camera encoded in the form of electronic impulses are transmitted to the brain by this “electronic retina”. It is a revolutionary device that allows patients afflicted with degenerative photo-receptive cells of the retina to once again perceive useful visual information, like the edge of a sidewalk, a door, a window, or large letters…until the next generation of improved retina implants will give them the power to read whole texts. Portrait: Gilles, France, afflicted with retinopathy, equipped with a retina implant. The hand

Bionic man hands down The Scottish company Touch Bionics manufactures high-tech bionic hands that offer previously unhoped for dexterity for amputees. The patient activates the wrist and fingers of the artificial hand by contracting his flexor and extensor muscles, generating a signal that is transmitted to the bionic hand’s processor by two electrodes connected to the skin. Sawing wood, typing, fitting a key to a lock, all these gestures are possible with the latest generation of bionic hands like the Pulse that may be connected to a PC via a WI-FI connection so that the user can learn to manage it and program it to his needs. Portrait: Donald McKillop, Scotland, amputee, equipped with a Pulse bionic hand

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Bionic Organs: A Medical Revolution  

With the advent of the Human-machine interfaces, the borders between the alive and the artificial become blurred... For the biggest profit o...

Bionic Organs: A Medical Revolution  

With the advent of the Human-machine interfaces, the borders between the alive and the artificial become blurred... For the biggest profit o...

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