Man loses hands, so builds his own functioning bionic ones

This is remarkable and made news wires recently: A Chinese man builds a bomb to go blast fishing. It explodes unexpectedly and he loses his hands. He creates new ones for himself out of scrap metal.

Sun Jifa, 51, of Northern China, makes it all sound so simple. “I control them with movements from my elbows, and I can work, love normally and feed myself just like anyone else.”

There is, of course, a small drawback when your handiwork is made of scrap metal. It is very, very heavy. Sun admits that they can be tiring.

Still, he’s decided that he should now go into business helping others who cannot afford to buy the more expensive versions. Somebody needs to hook him into Kickstarter.

To me, this is a powerful example of two things:

1) Technology has incredible potential for radical social change-for-the-good, among those who can least afford it.

2) Technology can make heard the voices of geniuses we’d never hear from, because of the proliferation of communication and because of the ability of common people to lay hold on transformative technologies, especially open source tools.

This reminds me of a talk from Alex Tabarrok on how ideas trump crises. He argues free trade and globalization are shaping a world that is more interconnected and liberating for the poor and oppressed.



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