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Bionic man

Scientists develop fully bionic 'man' capable of breathing, walking and talking

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: bionic man, advanced robotics, prosthetics


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(NaturalNews) To demonstrate the progress that has been made in the field of medical science, a team of researchers recently unveiled the world's first bionic "man," a human-like robot composed of artificial organs, limbs and other body parts donated from 17 different manufacturers across the globe. According to new reports, this bionic man is nearly fully functional, having the ability to breathe, walk and even talk in the same way that humans do.

The U.K.'s Daily Mail reports that the bionic man's release coincides with a Smithsonian Channel documentary that recently aired entitled "The Incredible Bionic Man." The feature highlights how the bionic man was constructed using a range of some of the world's most advanced artificial body parts, including a real working kidney and circulatory system. The bionic man even has ears and eyes, both of which are functional.

According to its creators, the bionic man currently functions at between 60 and 70 percent of what humans are capable of in terms of how it interacts with its environment. In what would surely make The Wizard of Oz's Tin Man jealous, the six-and-a-half foot tall machine with a human-like head has an artificial heart that actually pumps and circulates blood, carrying oxygen just like it does in humans.

"(It's) an attempt to showcase just how far medical science has gotten," stated Richard Walker, managing director at London-based Shadow Robot Company and lead roboticist on the project, to reporters.

After being showcased throughout Europe, including at the University of Zurich alongside Bertolt Meyer, a social psychologist with a bionic hand whose face served as the template for the bionic man, the robot was sent to the U.S. for further touring. It was recently featured at the New York Comic Con festival, according to reports.

"We wanted to showcase that the technology can provide aesthetic prostheses for people who have lost parts of their faces, for example, their nose, due to an accident or due to, for example, cancer," Meyer is quoted as saying. However, seeing the robot for the first time was "revolting," he admits, as its face very closely resembles his own, having been crafted in his image.

Despite its impressive features, bionic man is still nowhere close to being a real human being

Following its American debut at Comic Con, the bionic man made its way over to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., where visitors are now free to have their own look at the technology, which is still in development. Despite its many features, the bionic man is still lacking in the skin department, for instance. It is also devoid of a working digestive system, not to mention the fact that it has no liver or brain.

"The whole idea of the project is to get together all of the spare parts that already exist for the human body today -- one piece," added Meyer. "If you did that, what would it look like?"

Commenting on this robot version of Meyer, a visitor to the museum told Reuters U.K. that he thought it was a bit "creepy." A design engineer from Shadow Robot also admitted that the bionic man has weak interpersonal skills that are about as developed as Apple's Siri for the iPhone. In other words, the robot has a very limited "chatbot" computer program built into it that is hardly capable of carrying on an intelligent conversation.

"The people who made it decided to program it with the personality of a 13-year-old boy from the Ukraine," stated Robert Warburton from Shadow Robot. "So, he's not really the most polite of people to have a conversation with."

You can view a brief Daily Mail video report on the bionic man at the following link:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk.

You can also watch the full Smithsonian feature, "The Incredible Bionic Man," online at:
http://www.smithsonianchannel.com.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://uk.reuters.com

http://news.discovery.com

http://www.smithsonianchannel.com

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