A $1 million bionic something or other is now on display
at the London Science Museum. It's not really a man and it's
not really a robot. It's not really a cyborg, either. What it is,
actually, is a showcase of all the artificial systems that can be
installed in humans to try and fix things that aren't working.
It’s also a look towards the future of augmented biology —
all stuffed into a human form. “Rex,” was put together by
Shadow Robot Company.
Internal stuff used includes the following:
Arteries and Trachea: Nanocomposite polymers
seeded with stem cells. Developed by Royal Free
Hospital in London; patients have successfully
Blood: A paste of plastic molecules suspended in
water with similar oxygen binding and releasing
properties as the hemoglobin in red blood cells. It
was developed by the University of Sheffield and is
currently undergoing laboratory development.
Kidneys:An immune stable nanoscale filtration
system coupled with renal tubule cells in an
implantable cartridge. Developed by UCSF; should be
ready for clinical trials in three to five years.
Heart: Battery powered, self-contained, total
replacement system. Developed by SynCardia
Systems; it has been approved for implantation in
humans by the FDA.
Spleen: Magnetic nanoparticles pull pathogens
out of the blood and into a saline solution through a
porous membrane. Developed by the Wyss Institute,
it is undergoing testing for battlefield triage
Pancreas: Circuitless glucose-sensitive insulin
gel releasing implant. Developed by De Montford
University; currently under development.
Lungs: Portable blood/air mass exchanger which
can remove CO2 from and add oxygen to the blood
of active patients through gas permeable, surface-coated hollow fiber polymers. Developed by
Haemair; a prototype is in laboratory testing.
Eyes: External video camera sends images
through a processor which transmits them wirelessly
to a receiver mounted on the eye. An array of electrodes
placed directly onto the retina sends signals along the optic
nerve, which the brain learns to interpret as images.
Developed by Second Sight, and currently undergoing
international clinical tests.
There are also lots of other pieces of cybernetic
hardware, like arms, hands, hips, knees, and feet, and even an
external powered exoskeleton.
Cool tidbits herein provided by www.botjunkie.com, www.robotsnob.com,
www.plasticpals.com, http://www.robots-dreams.com, and other places.
SERVO 04.2013 25