Pacemakers have been helping people stay alive for decades. More recently, more prototypes of various computerized devices have been appearing at a rapid rate for various use such as regulating moods, helping handicapped people move see or speak. Although in a more distant future, brain machine interfaces will take a big role (more on that in another article), they are still expensive, big, require surgery and provide limited functionality. I therefore do not foresee them making them enough progress in the near future to become of widespread use. This is still good enough to be useful for helping people such as Steven Hawking speak, blind people get a rough vision of their surrounding and limited medical use.
However, there will be an increasing niche of agent devices providing the following features:
- Artificial body parts - for all amputees such as soldiers/ children walking on a mine, artificial limbs will be a game changer. Prototypes of thought controlled arms/ legs already exist and will eventually become mainstream for handicaped people after they have become cheaper (I expect the first prototypes to be too expensive for the common folks)
- artificial vision - rudimentary products allowing a limited set of vision impaired people know more about their surroundings through various methods such as implanted cameras or external devices such as tongue devices allowing limited vision already exist. I expect these products to get better and provide more useful information as they are enhanced. I also expect their prices to decrease through time until they become affordable to the masses.
- augmented vision - one way to provide a wearable interface will be super imposing useful data such as places/ people's names/ alerts such as appointments on our view of the world. Though a lot of ressearch will go into this, I do not expect to have many useful devices by the end of the decade.
- Replacement of Life saving