Archive for January 30th, 2008

A theory about prostheses

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Artificial add-ons for the human body

A fork is a prosthesis. Did you ever think about that? Technically a lot of things are prostheses (artificial replacements/add-ons).

This is a prosthesis aka fork

How can we define a prosthesis?

A prosthesis is a gadget that functions as a replacement or as an add-on for (a part of) the human body which gives a human being the ability to do things that wouldn’t be possible without the gadget.

Not only artificial limbs fall in that category. Nearly everything we are using each and every day is an artificial add-on (at least from a technical point of view). Like what? Eyeglasses, forks, cars, winter jackets, cell phones, computers, glasses, elevators, toothpicks, knifes, even toilet paper.

How would you feel without a spoon?

It’s not common to call these things prostheses or artificial replacements. But they are. Imagine a life without these things. Try eating without cutlery for example. How do you feel? Maybe some kind of “amputated”?

What do you think? Do you have other examples? Please post it as a comment.