Meet Rex. According to his creators, he’s the world’s first bionic man, comprising artificial organs, synthetic blood, robotic limbs and a human face. And as if that’s not enough, he can speak and listen, too.
Unveiled at a special exhibition at London’s Science Museum this week, the artificial human was created for a Channel 4 documentary called How to Build a Bionic Man. The project cost £640k ($1m) and showcases the latest achievements and advancements in bionic technology and prosthetic science.
“Strictly speaking, he’s not a robot,” Channel 4’s science editor Tom Clarke says in a report (below) about the bionic creation. “His parts aren’t designed to work together, but each one either is, or soon could be, part of a living human being.”
Rex’s two-meter-tall ‘body’, built with currently available bionic and prosthetic technology, includes a prosthetic face, hands, hips, knees and feet as well as cochlear implants which enable him to hear and retinal implants that allow him to sense objects in front of him. Speech synthesis technology means Rex can make sense of simple statements and even respond to some questions.
Artificial blood pumps through his artificial organs, which include a heart, kidney and pancreas. He also has a spleen and trachea. The stomach is missing, but one imagines it won’t be too long before the science boffins fix him up with one of those, too.
“Throughout history people have always sought to enhance themselves to overcome disabilities or to become bigger, better, stronger and faster,” Clare Matterson of the Wellcome Trust, which is funding the exhibition, told Sky News.
“Science is making aspirations and even fantasy ever more possible. We only have to look back at last summer’s Paralympics to see how transforming technology has become.”
Rex is on display at the Science Museum as part of the How Much of You Can Be Rebuilt? exhibit, which runs until March 11. Entry is free.