World’s First Bionic Man

rex

The world’s first bionic man Rex, created using nearly $1 million-worth of state-of-the-art limbs and organs was unveiled at London’s Science Museum on Feb 7, 2013. Rex, which stands for “robotic exoskeleton”, is the work of by UK roboticists Richard Walker and Matthew Godden with the support of the Wellcome Trust.

The idea of Bionic robot was conceved by Bertolt Meyer, a social psychologist from Switzerland who has a bionic hand himself. This robot is a joint effort of over 18 companies and universities and for the first time gives tangible hope that replacing body parts with man-made alternatives can finally be possible.

The science behind Rex’s limbs and organs has already made an impact in the real world. Rex has arms, a battery-powered heart, eyes and ears, plastic blood, weight-balanced feet and ankles, artificial pancreas, spleen, trachea, and kidney. The bionic man successfully simulates about two-thirds of the human body. But he lacks a few major organs, including a liver, stomach and intestines, which are still too complex to replicate in a lab.

The bionic man brings up some ethical and philosophical questions: Does creating something so human-like threaten notions of what it means to be human? What amount of body enhancement is acceptable? And is it wrong that only some people have access to these life-extending technologies?