The Beauty of Science
I enjoy looking through Discovers online magazine every so often, they have recently launched a scientific blog called The Crux. While surfing the archive I came across an interesting article called Exoskeletons Will Be the Eyeglasses of the 21st Century. The author, Kyle Munkittrick, talks about glasses, canes and other medical materials used to aid an impairment or disability have become a fashion statement. He also questions the future of exoskeletons, robotic arms and cybernetic augmentations and their place in the fashion world.
Eyeglasses are the prime example to his claim. Munkittrick has notice that glasses are a couple of the most prolific types of medical augmentations because they were meant to help people with a vision impairment and are now a huge fashion statement to those impaired and those who are not. Frames began very thin, but now have become chunky. People think that they are an essential piece to their identity, disregarding a disability to “look cool.”
Munkittrick then goes in to the idea of exoskeletons one day becoming as popular as glasses. Canes, crutches and wheelchairs are used to help people who have trouble walking but gains have definitely become a fashion statement amongst some groups and some people enjoy swinging or rolling themselves around on crutches and in wheelchairs even if they don’t need them. So what does that mean for exoskeletons, robotic arms and cybernetic augmentations? Munkittrick says that just like thin frames were replaced with chunky one for classes, they will soon be the chunky counter part to canes, crutches and wheelchairs and become a fashion statement. Even now prosthetics are made more fashionably than they were when they were first created. He says scientists are now thinking “people are going to have to wear these for the rest of their lives” so why not make it “a la mode”? The Esko Bionics in Berkeley California have recently developed a new exoskeleton called Ekso. Though it works perfectly and will give someone who needs it a new life, their ultimate goal in its upgrade is to make it so that it can fit under peoples clothes. If they achieve that, Munkittrick says that everyone will be wearing one.
What do you guys think? Should fashion be considered when developing these types of things? Should people who don’t have an impairment or disability be using devices that help people who do for their of fashion status? Will exoskeletons become the next big thing?