breakthThe study of replacement body parts as in robotics, is the subject of this episode.
Breakthrough: Episode Two -More Than Human
Directed and Narrated by Paul Giamatti
Interviews with Trish Aelker, David Cronenberg and Dr. Miguel Nicolelis
Running Length: 45 minutes
No rating given, but could be PG
The study of replacement body parts as in robotics, is the subject of this episode.  Actor/director Paul Giamatti takes a lighter touch to the subject, by participating in some experiments himself.   Facial expressions can reveal much to an audience. What is a replacement body part?  It can be a pacemaker, prosthetic leg or hand and being natural-looking in many instances. In fact, first responders to disasters, now have exo-skeletons that enable them to go into dangerous situations for rescue. It is literally a robotic suit.
The idea of something artificial helping a human to see or hear is illustrated when Giamatti wears a vest designed to help a deaf person "hear" through sensors in the vest. They can "feel" sound. Traveling to Europe, Giamatti has his hand connected to an electric hand.  He feels sensations from the artificial hand which is sensing. Then there are hearing aids and this is talked about in an interview with film director David Cronenberg, who says that he has hearing aids that communicate  through his head by Bluetooth.
A statement in the film says we are naturally born cyborgs, in that our bodies can figure out a way to compensate for a loss. Remember high school biology? What is enlightening in this episode is that there is hope on the horizon for people with disabilities, for working in hazardous situations and all on the fine line between human and machine. What about those trips to Mars and beyond?  Who will be the first "person" there, human or machine? The brain is human and we just keep solving puzzles as they come alone. In that, humanity is one.
Photography, soundtrack and production values are first rate.
Episode 2---"More Than Human" will be broadcast Sunday evening, November 8, 2015.
"Breakthrough" is a six-part weekly series on The National Geographic Channel, Sunday evenings, beginning November 1, 2015.  This will be shown in 440 million homes, 171 countries and in 45 languages.  Each episode is on a separate breakthrough in the science and health community. The first episode was "Fighting Pandemics," and this second episode is "More Than Human" on robotics.  Future episodes will be "Decoding The Brain" (Nov. 15), "The Age of Aging" (November 29), "Energy From The Edge" (December 6) and "Water Apocalypse" (December 13) which features California.  Each episode is either narrated or directed and narrated by a media personality including Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti, Adrien Brody, Ron Howard, Jason Bateman and Angela Bassett. No ratings, but some episodes could be PG 13 for visual effects such as hospital scenes.
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner