The South Korean government is planning to develop a prototype of a wearable “bionic arm” that can move and feel according to the user’s intention within this year.
A bionic arm is modeled after human skins, muscles, skeletons and joints. The government plans to complete the development of a prototype and verify it through animal experiment.
The Ministry of Science and ICT announced on Jan. 13 that it has finalized its plan for the development convergence technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robots and bio technology. It will invest 37.5 billion won (US$33.52 million) this year in human enhancement technology (HET), natural simulation innovation technology, and research in convergence of cultural traditions.
HET refers to techniques that can be used not simply for treating illness and disability, but also for enhancing human characteristics and capacities.
The ministry will invest 1.9 billion won in the “Human-plus Convergence Research and Development Challenge Project” which will be launched this year. It will seek to develop an HET platform to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution era. For example, it plans to develop smart apparel technology for optimization of physical ability. This project will fully utilize the preliminary plan research and competitive R&D method and will enhance the usage of developed technologies by carrying out open task performance evaluations with the industry.
The ministry has set aside 7.3 billion won for the development convergence technologies that combine traditional cultural resources such as rust-free brassware and heat-producing “hanji” flooring with cutting-edge science and technology.
In sports science convergence research, 1.2 billion won will be invested to develop technologies that optimize the interaction of winter sports equipment and promote the industrialization of winter sports.
In addition, the project will pursue competition-based R&D on naturally degradable plastic replacement material to address social issues and implantable photodynamic malignant tumor treatment technologies, which have created a new market.