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Work, health, military: is the augmented human revolution already here?

3 episodes
  • 1
    Reclaiming autonomy: the repaired human
  • 2
    How to assist or augment workers
  • 3
    Super-soldiers: augmented humans in wartime
Épisode 1/3
Marina Julienne, Independent Journalist
On June 23rd, 2022
4 mins reading time
Vance Bergeron
Vance Bergeron
CNRS Research Director and President of Association Advanced Neurorehabilitation Therapies (ANTS) at Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Physics Department
Grégoire Courtine
Grégoire Courtine
Professor of Neurosciences at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Key takeaways

  • Exoskeletons appear to be a good way of supporting an ageing population, as is the case in Japan for example.
  • In 2020, a team led by researcher Grégoire Courtine implanted three paralysed men with a cardiac neurostimulator in the abdomen, and about fifteen electrodes on their spinal cord.
  • The operated patients were able to take their first steps almost immediately but has only been carried out on a treadmill in the laboratory for the moment.
  • Many improvements are expected on these exoskeletons, including Bluetooth to get rid of wires but also a lower cost to make it more accessible to all.
Épisode 2/3
Marina Julienne, Independent Journalist
On June 23rd, 2022
3 mins reading time
Jean-Jacques Atain Kouadio
Jean-Jacques Atain Kouadio
Assistance expert at the Ergonomics and Psychology Applied to Prevention (EPAP) laboratory at INRS

Key takeaways

  • Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) account for 88% of occupational illnesses in France and back pain accounts for 20% of work-related accidents.
  • In 2012, the INRS launched an initial prospective study entitled “Use of physical assistance robots by 2030 in France” to relieve workers.
  • For the shoulder, for example, the teams viewed the inter-bone and tendon spaces, using ultrasound, and compared the behaviour of this joint with and without assistance.
  • But exoskeletons are not an answer to all the physical constraints to which employees are exposed.
Épisode 3/3
Marina Julienne, Independent Journalist
On June 23rd, 2022
4 mins reading time
Pierre Bourgois
Pierre Bourgois
Lecturer in political science at l’Université catholique de l’Ouest and member of État et Recherche de la Paix (SERP)

Key takeaways

  • The US has positioned itself as the leading powerhouse in augmented armies attempting to make soldiers with no physical, physiological, or cognitive limitations more performant.
  • The exoskeleton is not the only option being considered for the military with motorisation of the lower body is being considered, for example.
  • Pharmacology also comes into play with psychostimulants or anxiolytics to reduce stress.
  • However, these increases are not without risks and can have psychological, physical and above all ethical consequences.

Contributors

Marina Julienne

Marina Julienne

Independent Journalist

Marina Julienne graduated in Literature (University of Paris IV) and Political Science (University of Paris I). Initially a journalist in editorial content (Zélig press agency, Infomatin daily newspaper, Eureka monthly), she has worked as a freelancer for Science et Vie, La Recherche, Sciences actualités (Cité desciences), Terre Sauvage, Le Monde Science and Médecine. She is also the author and director of several documentaries, particularly in the field of education, for France-Télévision and Arte.