15 Body Improvements That Seem Like Science Fiction
Over the course of history, humans have worked tirelessly to ensure our collective survival. From learning how to hunt and gather together to figuring out how to ensure the survival of even the most vulnerable, we have come a long way as a species. Now, a baby born weeks or even months before its due date has a decent chance of survival. Medical technology has advanced to such a degree that we can replace limbs, transfuse blood, and repair damage that previously would have been fatal. Science fiction, often the forerunner of human ingenuity, has predicted many of these improvements. Here are a few pieces of medical technology that previously seemed like science fiction.
1. The Wheelchair
The wheelchair was first depicted in art of the 5th century BCE. The first wheelchairs were more like moveable beds or wheelbarrows, designed to transport humans who could no longer walk on their own. During the mid-6th century BCE, images of wheeled chairs started to be seen in China. The technology spread to Europe, and was soon available to people needing more mobility there. As of the 18th century, they were in regular use all over the world. Now, wheelchairs are motorized and can be used effortlessly.
The first recorded mention of eyeglasses was in 1286 by a Dominican friar named Giordano da Pisa, who preached a sermon praising their invention. Just a few years later, the art of making eyeglasses had advanced so far that there was a guild regulating eyeglass craftsmen. By the 15th century, eyeglasses had spread all the way to China and the Far East. Later, it was American founding father Benjamin Franklin who took the technology available at the time and invented bifocals.
3. The IV
The first experiments using intravenous technology (IV) were conducted in 1656 by Sir Christopher Wren — not actually a doctor at all, but an architect. Luckily, his experiments were done on dogs. He first used a sharpened quill attached to an animal bladder to intravenously medicate his test subjects, and had quite a lot of success. He also used his makeshift IV to transfuse the blood of one dog into another. It seems disgusting, but his methods eventually led to the discovery of the needle-based IV that we know today.