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‘Bionic man’ goes on display in British science museum

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 14:49 EDT
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Researcher Bertolt Meyer, a lifelong user of prosthetic technology, poses with the model Rex, the world's first bionic man. (AFP)
 
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A “bionic man” costing one million dollars went on display on Tuesday at Britain’s Science Museum, complete with artificial organs, synthetic blood and robot limbs.

Named Rex, which is short for “Robotic Exoskeleton”, the six foot six inch (two metre) humanoid with its uncannily life-like face was assembled by leading roboticists for a television programme.

Although cheaper than the “Six Million Dollar Man” made famous by the cult 1970s television series starring Lee Majors, the technology is far advanced from the fictional bionics on show back then.

The creation includes key advances in prosthetic technology, as well as an artificial pancreas, kidney, spleen and trachea and a functional blood circulatory system.

Welcoming Rex to the museum in London on Tuesday was Swiss social psychologist Bertolt Meyer, who was himself born without a left hand and has a sophisticated bionic replacement.

“I’ve looked around for new bionic technologies, out of personal interest, for a very long time and I think that until five or six years ago nothing much was happening,” Meyer said.

“Then suddenly we are now at a point where we can build a body that is great and beautiful in its own special way.”

The museum exhibit, which opens to the public on Thursday, will explore changing perceptions of human identity against the background of rapid progress in bionics — although Rex is not strictly bionic as he does not include living tissue.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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