The Bionic Man -- an idea spawned by TV production company Darlow Smithson Productions and built by Shadow Robot Company, both in London -- is the product of an effort to recreate as human a machine as possible out of artificial body parts. (Source: The Smithsonian Channel)
I found it unusual that they would build this body with artificially functioning limbs, and also a blood pumping heart. Obviously the two different technologies are not mutually supportive of each other.
But I suppose this device, on the whole, was intended to be a technology flagship, intended to "showcase" the various technologies into a single model.
I agree. The method used to provide signals to operate the hand of the Bionic Man is very interesting. I find it amazing how electronics can be used to emulate human body functions, in this case the Bionic Man's hand, to demonstrate new artifical medical technologies to the public. Another reason why I teach and write books on the subject of electronics.
Quite an interesting article on Artifical Medical Technology. Athough the Six Million Dollar Man was a SciFi TV show, the concept was based on real facts relating to engineering principles, medical technology, and science. The Bionic Man illustrates how these principles can be turned into reality using mechatronics, science, and good old creative thinking.
Ah, yes, I understand now, Ann. Yes, that fact was quite interesting to me as well, but of course it makes total sense. This project really shows that even though it is possible to replace and even improve human functions and parts, machines and/or robots can never be *exactly* the same as a human or exactly replicate functions and parts, which in my opinion is a very good thing.
Thanks, Ann! Yes, it was a lot of fun to put together. Really interesting on a lot of levels. But I'm not sure what you mean about what you found interesting? Do you mean how the hand couldn't be connected because it was designed to work with human nerves and things like that?
Great article, and looks like it was fun to put together. One thing I find interesting is the differences between robotic capabilities and those design details, such as for a hand, and the same for bionic ones.
This is indeed quite impressive and certainly shows what can be done. But then I think of the logical outcome if the progress continues, especially based on the assertion that it picked up colorful language from the programmer. Of course it would, as most software does reflect the programmer, no matter what the specifications are. That brings to mind a couple of other paths that the development might take. In the BBC series "Doctor Who" there are two sets of creatures that also resulted from replacing human parts with mechanical ones. There are the Cybermen, who are quite merciless warriors, and the Daleks, who are just plain evil. Of course it is quite a stretch from the six-million dollar man to either of these models, but it does point out that it is important to consider the secondary results of each development. We have already learned that the eventual outcomes of things that seem like a good idea at the time may not be what was expected.
This project to me is so impressive and really shows the progress in terms of artificial limbs, organs and other body parts. It's quite amazing to me how much of the human body can feasibily be replaced, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. One thing that I didn't include in the story that I also think is interesting is the moral issues that come up in terms of replacing human parts with artificial ones, as sometimes they not only equal the performance of the previous part but may also enhance it, in true "Bionic Man" style. The idea then is if it is not just moral but practical or financially sound to use medicine in this way not just to help humans but to actually make them better. And what about extending a person's life beyond what is "normal" in this day and age with technology? All interesting questions that come up with technology like the ones on display here.
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