Like Frankenstein’s monster, cobbled together from a hodgepodge of body parts, the bionic man is an amalgam of the most advanced human prostheses — from robotic limbs to artificial organs to a blood-pumping circulatory system.
The creature “comes to life” in “The Incredible Bionic Man,” (Watch Video of the Bionic Man)
Roboticists Rich Walker and Matthew Godden of Shadow Robot Company in England led the assembly of the bionic man from prosthetic body parts and artificial organs donated by laboratories around the world.
“Our job was to take the delivery of a large collection of body parts — organs, limbs, eyes, heads — and over a frantic six weeks, turn those parts into a bionic man,” Walker told LiveScience during an interview. But it’s not as simple as connecting everything like Tinkertoys. “You put a prosthetic part on a human who is missing that part,” Walker said. “We had no human; we built a human for the prosthetic parts to occupy.”
The robot, which cost almost $1 million to build, was modeled in some physical aspects after Bertolt Meyer, a social psychologist at the University of Zurich, in Switzerland, who wears one of the world’s most advanced bionic hands.
The bionic man has the same prosthetic hand as Meyer — the i-LIMB made by Touch Bionics — with a wrist that can fully rotate and motors in each finger. The hand’s grasping abilities are impressive, but the bionic man still drops drinks sometimes.
“He’s not the world’s best bartender,” Walker said.
The robot sports a pair of robotic ankles and feet from BiOM in Bedford, Mass., designed and worn by bioengineer Hugh Herr of MIT’s Media Lab, who lost his own legs after getting trapped in a blizzard as a teenager.
But it doesn’t end there — the bionic man also has a nearly complete set of artificial organs, including an artificial heart, blood, lungs (and windpipe), pancreas, spleen, kidney and functional circulatory system, and yes, a Brain
But it doesn’t end there — the bionic man also has a nearly complete set of artificial organs, including an artificial heart, blood, lungs (and windpipe), pancreas, spleen, kidney and functional circulatory system, and yes, a Brain!
Innovative technology at the Centre for Defence Enterprise
A robotic hand that could defuse bombs remotely, a camera with the ability to detect minute changes in the landscape and a mysterious orange goo that absorbs the impact of bomb blasts are among new battlefield technologies unveiled by the Ministry of Defence.
The innovations, designed to make life safer for frontline troops, are being funded by grants from the MoD’s Centre for Defence Enterprise, which encourages private companies to bring their products straight to the government for development.
Richard Walker said he hoped the hand would make life safer for bomb disposal experts. “It could be attached to a robot and used in difficult, dirty and dangerous places where you don’t want to go but have to,” he said extending the fingers of the robotic hand by flexing his own inside a glove that transmitted the movement to the machine. “The idea is that you can operate the hand in shirtsleeves without having to wear heavy bomb disposal body armour.”