While it’s been about 40 years since the American television thriller “The Six Million Dollar Man” – a story about a law enforcement agent who is grievously injured but revitalized with bionic technology – went off the air, researchers and engineers have quietly been working on ways to incorporate the central vision of that show into reality. Now, according to several British news sources, a team of robotics designers known as Shadow have created the blueprint for what they believe would be the world’s first truly biomechanical man.
Known as “Rex,” the six-foot tall “person” is less of a functioning robot and more a workshop for the biomedical devices of the future. Most of the major organs in the human body were implemented into the design. For example, a pair of glasses fill in for the eyes by directing the images to a microchip embedded in Rex’s “head”. The machine’s central computer then processes the information. Additionally, the design incorporates a man-made form of blood that delivers oxygen molecules throughout the device. Rex also possess fully-functioning legs with Achilles tendons and hands that can pick up and manipulate objects .
“We were surprised how many of the parts of the body can be replaced,” Rich Walker, Shadow’s managing director, told The Sun, a U.K.-based news source. “There are some vital organs missing, like the stomach, but 60 to 70 per cent of a human has effectively been rebuilt.”
Rex is currently on display at the London Science Museum as part of one of its exhibits. While this kind of technology is still in its infancy, the fact that Rex only cost roughly $750,000 illustrates how biomedical devices are rapidly changing in the 21st century. With luck, patients around the world will one day benefit from this exciting breakthrough.