That's right, tails. Not the kinds you tell about the fish that got away, but the kind most animals have. There are tons of helpful accessibility possibilities, but also some challenges.
From an accessibility standpoint, tails could be an amazing resource! If the tail is long enough, a white cane would no longer be necesary. With enough length, muscle control and sensation, a blind person could wrap the tail around to the front and use it like a white cane. No more searching for a cane you've mis-placed and since everyone would have tails, it would take the stigma out of cane use. For many of us, the cane isn't anything to be ashamed of, but someone who's newly blinded might reject the use of a white cane, but if the tail were something everyone had at their disposal, the stigma would be gone! This could be a mobility instructor's dream come true!
And don't worry, the tails benefits also extend to Guide Dog users. First of all, if done correctly, the human could loop the tail through the live ring on the collar to give a correction if the leash wasn't attached (think about times when the dog is off leash). Praise would be even more meaningful to the dog because if the human wagged her or his tail, the dog would receive multi-sensory praise. Those with the use of only one good hand might find the tail as a leash to be helpful even when the dog is in harness. Finally, for those of us who have
walking aids and dogs,
if we had good muscle control in the tail, we could carry objects with our tails. I could, for example, carry a coffee or even food in a small bag with handles.
Wheelchair users could use the tail to clear a path in front of them if the tail were long enough. Wheelchairs would need to be adapted somewhat, but so would all chairs to increase the comfort of anyone who ever wanted to sit.
Finally, in a pinch, a blind person could communicate with someone who cannot speak through tail wags. By asking a yes or no question, the blind person could get information by feeling what the person without speech was trying to communicate to them.
Of course, there are a few downsides to this new feature. Clothing would need to be modified significantly to provide protection for tails. It would be most helpful to have a tail-keeper and the means with which to withdraw the tail from the keeper. My friend and I considered a zipper, but this would depend upon the texture of the tail. A furry tail and a zipper probably won't mix well.
The other huge problem would be finding ways so people wouldn't step on each others tails all of the time. This could be a significant problem!
What benefits and risks do you see with a human tail? What other improvements would you like to see in body2.0?