Progress made on building a completely bionic man will soon be on display at London’s Science Museum. Named Rex, the machine-man demonstrates how close our technology is to mimicking, even improving on, the human body and mind. “Housed within a frame of state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs is a functional heart-lung system, complete with artificial blood pumping through a network of pulsating modified-polymer arteries. He has a bionic spleen to clean the blood, and an artificial pancreas to keep his blood sugar on the level.”
What’s the Big Idea?
What is particularly impressive is Rex’s sensory capabilities. Behind his brown irises is a pair of retinal implants that allow him to see the humans who meet his gaze. “He even has a degree of artificial intelligence: talk to him, and he’ll listen (through his cochlear implants), before using a speech generator to respond.” As usual, larger issues are at stake. “…in a future world where we could, feasibly, replace virtually all of our body, will we blur the boundaries of artificial and natural to an extent that we have to recalibrate our definition of self and non-self?”