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View Full Version : “It’s a matter of time before someone with powered prostheses can beat Usain Bolt”



Artfunkel
11th Jun 2010, 13:35
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/more_sport/athletics/article7147152.ece

Speaking at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival, David James, a sports engineer at Sheffield Hallam University, said that prosthetic J-shaped blades used by athletes such as the sprinter Oscar Pistorius already surpassed the performance of human limbs.
He wants athletes with augm- I mean, prosthetics, barred from competing with other runners. Not because it's unfair on the disabled people, but because it's unfair on those with organic legs!

The printed paper has an boxout with some figures in, and they show pretty clearly that amputee sprinters' times are very, very close to those of their able-bodied colleagues. Makes you wonder who the able-bodied ones really are...

Ulysses
11th Jun 2010, 13:47
No doesn't really make me wonder, the able bodied ones are the ones whose bodies are able without any engineered prosthetics. Like should compete with like, at least in the area of having two legs.

Angel/0A
11th Jun 2010, 13:54
Once it gets to the point where people are lopping off limbs in order to compete at a higher level, okay sure. But as it is, the only things engineered are the legs themselves, not the ways in which these people acquired them.

Ulysses
11th Jun 2010, 14:10
Yes, and that is what I was referring to.

Caipa
11th Jun 2010, 14:43
The human leg is a "Multitool" you can walk, run, jump, climb feel heat or cold ...
With the current technology a prosthetics can be better than a organic leg for specific mission like a form of sport.
The technology give you today no better Multitool.

Flabdomen
11th Jun 2010, 15:17
I believe this is relevant discussion material.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG_SRYdf0F0&feature=related

Romeo
11th Jun 2010, 21:45
People always seems surprised by mechanical organs and limbs being better and better. As it stands, insulin pumps COULD exactly replicate the self-adjusting functions of a human pancreas (Although they don't, in case any computer of mechanical fault occurs, they still want the user to have full control). Way I see it, within the next two generations, mechanical components will exceed "base" organs and limbs, which will then cause interesting discussions into ethics and equility, religious standpoints and of course, whether or not it is allowed in sporting events. =P

FrankCSIS
12th Jun 2010, 16:01
The argument, steroids included, has always amused me. Being born with better genetic potential than others for the practice of a certain competition seems fair to everyone, but augmenting your chances by other means than training is a sin against sport. The reality is that physically, none of us are born equal, and there is nothing fair about the initial roll of dice we are all dealt with at birth. Sure the training part is noble and extremely admirable, but let's not kid ourselves about the natural equality of chances.

FatDragon
13th Jun 2010, 03:39
The argument, steroids included, has always amused me. Being born with better genetic potential than others for the practice of a certain competition seems fair to everyone, but augmenting your chances by other means than training is a sin against sport. The reality is that physically, none of us are born equal, and there is nothing fair about the initial roll of dice we are all dealt with at birth. Sure the training part is noble and extremely admirable, but let's not kid ourselves about the natural equality of chances.

Valid points, but give Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut a read.

Also, athletics are interesting and exciting for being competitions between the best - are you going to be impressed by Nate Robinson dunking over Dwight Howard in the Slam Dunk competition if everybody and their grandmother has mechanically augmented legs that allow them to do so? It would no longer be competition between the best, but competition between the richest (highest quality augs) and the most reckless (experimental new tech). widespread augmentation would kill competition - too much equality is a boring thing.

JackShandy
13th Jun 2010, 03:48
It would no longer be competition between the best, but competition between the richest (highest quality augs) and the most reckless (experimental new tech).

So, like car racing, then.

IOOI
13th Jun 2010, 04:56
I see Athletics as Human's performance index sport. And like any performance sport there should be categories. If people want to "augment" themselves that's fine, but they should compete in a different category.

Believe it or not but even if one's born with the goods there's other things that can hinder one's performance, for instance: age (one starts practicing and, in this case, sprinters "competition life span"); bad practice routines (lack of technique, missing training sessions, etc...); injuries.


The reality is that physically, none of us are born equal, and there is nothing fair about the initial roll of dice we are all dealt with at birth. Sure the training part is noble and extremely admirable, but let's not kid ourselves about the natural equality of chances.

That's why leagues exist.

FrankCSIS
13th Jun 2010, 06:47
So, like car racing, then.

Haha, with the F1 in town this week-end, that's exactly what I was going to type.

My examples are not valid for all sports and competitions, obviously, but it still works for so many that I can't take sports competitions as this sacred thing it's trying to present itself. You just take cycling and EPO. Being born with a greater lung capacity than others will give you a potential edge people will no doubt admire, but taking EPO to augment your sub-par oxygen production in order to keep up or give you an edge is a capital sin.

How are injuries supposed to be fair? You have this raw, tremendous talent, you have the work ethic, and then some injury just flats out ruins your career. A part replacement could solve it, but then people would say you don't belong in the league anymore.

Money already buys talent, equipment and training facilities. Canada has done so well in the last winter olympics, in part thanks to the new federal program instored when we knew Vancouver would get the games. Where does it start, really, and where does it end? Money and recklesness have always been at the very center of high caliber sports. Rekclessness often compensating when there was less money.


Valid points, but give Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut a read.

I'll give it a shot.

IOOI
13th Jun 2010, 07:29
Haha, with the F1 in town this week-end, that's exactly what I was going to type.

My examples are not valid for all sports and competitions, obviously, but it still works for so many that I can't take sports competitions as this sacred thing it's trying to present itself. You just take cycling and EPO. Being born with a greater lung capacity than others will give you a potential edge people will no doubt admire, but taking EPO to augment your sub-par oxygen production in order to keep up or give you an edge is a capital sin.

How are injuries supposed to be fair? You have this raw, tremendous talent, you have the work ethic, and then some injury just flats out ruins your career. A part replacement could solve it, but then people would say you don't belong in the league anymore.

Money already buys talent, equipment and training facilities. Canada has done so well in the last winter olympics, in part thanks to the new federal program instored when we knew Vancouver would get the games. Where does it start, really, and where does it end? Money and recklesness have always been at the very center of high caliber sports. Rekclessness often compensating when there was less money.

If someone wants to create some kind of competition/sport it should do like it always have been with all kind of sports: create an association. There's no need to change other people's mind so one can compete has he desire. I'm pretty sure that even some pharmaceutical companies would pay people to test new performance-enhancing drugs, so they would get sponsors really quickly.

Once the new competition/sport has been given proofs that it can develop successfully (no one dying from drug abuse and having other body altering changes) others will embrace it. And pretty sure it's how it's gonna work in the future, because it's not like this is new (dopping), some leagues will eventually accept some forms of it.

About injuries that's how it works now because those are the rules from that league. If someone wants to change it should do what I explained before.

jtr7
13th Jun 2010, 07:54
Artificial limbs that can do what what no organic limb ever could is a cheat. It's awesome, but it's clearly unfair. There has to be a line. If a runner hops on a bicycle and competes with other runners who remain on foot, the machine advantage in long distances is clearly unfair, and the slower start in short sprints is clearly unfair. If a runner with artificial legs competed alongside wheelchair racers, how would people feel, especially if they won every time? If a runner is wearing special shoes, it's not unfair if the other runners can wear the same brand and materials. If it's not one person's DNA and mind vs. another's DNA and mind, with all additions equally accessible, it's clearly unfair. If part of the official competition is one person's footwear vs. another's, or one person's sports drink vs. another's, and they are not allowed to share brands, makes, models, etc., then the competition is intended to pit external factors against one another, and it's not unfair. A runner that cannot utilize an external factor that another runner can creates an unfair situation, if it's not intended that way in the rules. Body and mind does not include footwear, and manufactured items that are not the person's own mind and living body as the machine it is, without bio-enhancement. If even one's own blood-cells cannot be injected, having been outside the body and placed back in, are not allowed, a whole artificial limb is clearly not allowed. If an athlete can add artificial limbs into the mix, but the competition has to have limbs removed so they appear matched, it's clearly not fair. It has to be a different category, or else the purpose of the competition and rules have to reflect the truth. If it's one type of locomotion vs. another, fine. If it's officially meant to show off the performance of the prostheses, fine. It's human-powered machinery, and all the competitors of the specific type of race need to have the same access to the devices, else the rules and intent have to allow a variety of devices or lack thereof and the winner considered in a different light. It's not about running anymore, once the line has been crossed into having a variety and percentage of artificial replacements that are not available to all, leaving the mind and DNA alone.


Give everyone modified pogo shoes:
http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1806201