• Pranav Nandurkar

Do you know: What is Human Augmentation?

Updated: Apr 10

A common definition is a technology that enhances human productivity and improves or restores capabilities of the human body or mind is what we refer to as human augmentation. Augmentation is the process of increasing the value or quality of something by adding to it. So Human augmentation has the potential to improve our health, entertainment, productivity, and overall quality of life.  Examples of human-augmentation applications include devices such as Eyeglasses, pacemakers, prosthetics, wearable devices, chip implants, genetic modifications, next-generation cochlear implants for auditory sensing and processing, limb prostheses or devices that enhance muscle functioning. Humans have been looking into this technology for a long time, especially in the field of medicine but over the past few years, human augmentation has shifted from medicinal research to more technological studies. Moving back in time, In 1962 Douglas C. Engelbart released the report "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework which introduced, and laid the groundwork for, augmented cognition. In this paper, Engelbart defines "augmenting human intellect as "increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems. Modern augmented cognition began to emerge in the early 2000s and it went on increasing with time.

Types and Examples of Human Augmentation - Human Augmentation can be mainly divided into three main categories based on their functions Replicating Human Ability - This kind of human augmentation refers to a technology that replicates abilities that a typical person can do. It replicates pre-existing functions and provides them to someone who couldn’t perform them on their own.

For Example-

Prosthetics -

An artificial device that replaces a missing body part, which may be lost through trauma, disease, or a condition present at birth. Prosthetics for limbs, custom hand prosthetics for individuals who have had their fingers amputated.

MotionSavvy -

A platform for translating sign language into speech and the other way round, acting as a translator, can significantly improve the lives of deaf people and facilitate communication between employees.

Supplementing human ability :

The next level of human augmentation is supplementation.  It enables us to perform activities that are already humanly possible but makes us better at them: faster, more productive, stronger, more durable. For example -

Neuralink -

Another project by Elon Musk with the ultimate goal of creating a brain-computer interface (BCI). If successful, the project would allow individuals to interact with a computer on a neural level.

Exoskeletons -

Currently being produced by Sarcos Robotics, allowing people to lift to 90 kg, perform precise operations, and repeat motions without strain.

Exceeding human ability: This kind of human augmentation offers solutions to surpass human abilities. Being the most interesting, they’re also the most difficult to obtain.

For example -

The synthetic memory chip -

Proposed by neuroscientist Theodore Berger. Once Installed in the human brain, it may enable us to have perfect memory. While still conceptual, the project could allow people to have “perfect” memories that never forget information.

Nanobots -

Nanobots are robots that are used to carry out a specific function and are about 50 to 100 nm. Normally they are used for drug delivery to make it more precise and effective, once they are deployed in a humans body. Special sensor nanobots can be inserted into the blood under the skin where microchips, coated with human molecules and designed to emit an electrical impulse signal, monitor the sugar level in the blood.