Today is a different topic from our usual topics here at the Nerd Den; today we’re talking about the technological advancement in Medical and Science. We’re entering an age where the impossible is becoming possible. Take for example the Artificial Heart, originally was thought up by a Soviet Scientist in 1937 by the name of Vladimir Demikhov, who used it to transplant it into a dog.
Fifteen years later on July 15th, 1952 at Harper University Hospital at the Wayne State University in Michigan, 41-year-old Henry Opitek was suffering from shortness of breath, but made Medical History; he would receive the first mechanical heart called The Dodrill-GMR Heart Machine and with it would be considered the first working Operational Mechanical Heart. The surgery was a success! And Mr. Opitek was the first recipient of the Dodrill-GMR, before this surgery it was an ongoing experiment on young male cows at the Hershey Research Facility in Hershey, PA during the 1970s. A year later in 1953, a man by the name of John Heysham Gibbon brought to the world, Medical world a new invention called the Heart and Lung Machine. This machine would take over for the Heart and Lungs during the surgery, it would maintain the circulation of blood and oxygen content of the Patient’s body.
Since then it has helped people all over the world, and over time scientists worked to perfect the Artificial Heart, and during that time it helped with Cardiovascular research and it also helped patients over time until they could get a transplant. Now you have to ask yourself, “Does this have something to do with comics and other media today?” Yes, it has influenced popular media such as Doctor Who; The Doctor and his companions come up against evil cybernetic creatures known as the Cybermen, creatures that used to be human beings until they decided to “Upgrade” themselves to the point of where they were no longer human, They didn’t need to eat, sleep or feel anything.
Then in 1963, Stan Lee toyed around with the idea of a businessman superhero, one to fit in with the spirit of the times and Marvel readership; in Tales of Suspense #39 with the help of Larry Lieber, Don Heck, and of course, ‘The King’ Jack Kirby brought Iron Man to life. Tony Stark was a brilliant inventor, the son of a wealthy industrialist named Howard Stark. He inherited his father’s corporation, Stark Industries; later on, he would be attacked by terrorists, forced to make them weapons until a man named Ho Yensin, a Nobel prize-winning physicist helps to construct Stark a Magnetic Chest plate that he would wear to keep parts of Shrapnel from reaching his heart. This would be reimagined in 2008 film where instead of a Chest-Plate, he would be fitted with an electromagnet. Which would lead to an Arc reactor, it would double as an Artificial Heart.
We are familiar with High-Tech superheroes, but we are also familiar with the inventions they would introduce another thing that would inspire people to create things that can improve people’s lives and people with Disabilities. Take this company, for example, Open Bionics; with the bionics, they develop affordable, assistive devices that would enhance the Human Body, the technology they used was a combination of 3D printing and robotics, the bionic device is called a ‘Hero Arm‘ it a 3D-printed multi-grip bionic arm for people with below elbow upper-limb differences, for now, it is for ages 9 and older but before you can get one you have to be fitted for it at a prosthetic clinic. If you want to read more about their company, click on this link or if you want to see more, check out their channel on YouTube.
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