‘Bionic Man’ Walks, Breathes With Artificial Parts

NEW YORK — NEW YORK (AP) — Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, after all. We have the technology.

The term “bionic man” was the stuff of science fiction in the 1970s, when a popular TV show called “The Six Million Dollar Man” chronicled the adventures of Steve Austin, a former astronaut whose body was rebuilt using artificial parts after he nearly died.

Now, a team of engineers has assembled a robot using artificial organs, limbs and other body parts that comes tantalizingly close to a true “bionic man.” For real, this time.

The artificial “man” is the subject of a Smithsonian Channel documentary that airs Sunday, Oct. 20 at 9 p.m. Called “The Incredible Bionic Man,” it chronicles engineers’ attempt to assemble a functioning body using artificial parts that range from a working kidney and circulation system to cochlear and retina implants.

The parts hail from 17 manufacturers around the world. This is the first time they’ve been assembled together, says Richard Walker, managing director of Shadow Robot Co. and the lead roboticist on the project.

“(It’s) an attempt to showcase just how far medical science has gotten,” he says.

The robot making appearances in the U.S. for the first time this week. Having crossed the Atlantic tucked inside two metal trunks — and after a brief holdup in customs — the bionic man will strut his stuff at the New York Comic Con festival on Friday.

Walker says the robot has about 60 to 70 percent of the function of a human. It stands six-and-a-half feet tall and can step, sit and stand with the help of a Rex walking machine that’s used by people who’ve lost the ability to walk due to a spinal injury. It also has a functioning heart that, using an electronic pump, beats and circulates artificial blood, which carries oxygen just like human blood. An artificial, implantable kidney, meanwhile, replaces the function of a modern-day dialysis unit.

Although the parts used in the robot work, many of them are a long way from being used in humans. The kidney, for example, is only a prototype. And there are some key parts missing: there’s no digestive system, liver, or skin. And, of course, no brain.

The bionic man was modeled after Bertolt Meyer, a 36-year-old social psychologist at the University of Zurich who was born without his lower left arm and wears a bionic prosthesis. The man’s face was created based on a 3D scan of Meyer’s face.

“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 says.

Meyer says he initially felt a sense of unease when he saw the robot for the first time.

“I thought it was rather revolting to be honest,” he says. “It was quite a shock to see a face that closely resembles what I see in the mirror every morning on this kind of dystopian looking machine.”

He has since warmed up to it, especially after the “man” was outfitted with some clothes from the U.K. department store Harrods.

And the cost? As it turns out, this bionic man comes cheaper than his $6-million-dollar sci-fi cousin. While the parts used in the experiment were donated, their value is about $1 million.

The Annals of Improbable Research: the four oddest winners of the Ig Nobel awards

http://www.telegraph.co.uk  By 

 

1) How far can a penguin poo?

Forty centimetres. Well, you did ask. In their study “Pressures Produced When Penguins Pooh – Calculations on Avian Defaecation” (Polar Biology, 2003) the researchers looked at how far a penguin could poo, and worked out how much pressure there was inside said penguin. “Whether the bird deliberately chooses the direction into which it decides to expel its faeces or whether this depends on the direction from which the wind blows at the time of evacuation are questions that need to be addressed on another expedition to Antarctica,” they said, rather optimistically.

2) You can cure hiccups with a finger up the bum

Or “digital rectal massage”. One for the “treatment is worse than disease” files, possibly. This won the medicine prize in 1998, and, in fairness to it, it is preferable to treating intractable hiccups with anti-spasmodic drugs.

3) The lifestyle of the homosexual necrophiliac duck

Fans of March of the Penguins, look away now: “Next to the obviously dead duck, another male mallard… mounted the corpse and started to copulate, with great force.” Winner of the biology award in 2001, and the product of some serendipity, after the author happened to see one duck smash headlong into his window, killing itself, and then see another duck come along and have its wicked way.

4) Malaria mosquitoes are attratcted to cheese

Ripe limburger cheese, to be precise. They’re as likely to go for the cheese as they are for your foot odour (which is how they find you, apparently). The feet and the cheese share a bacterium. It might not make you want to eat limburger, but it’s important in the understanding the spread of a disease that kills tens of millions worldwide every year.

From Andy, Why folks look into these questions one is only left wondering. If you learned something today I have no idea how you will use that knowledge. Andy

Gasp, Hoping toads Batman, Levitating Frog!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

Andre Geim, a physicist working at the University of Manchester, became the first (and, we presume, only) man ever to make a frog levitate using magnetism. The thinking behind this was not clear. Prof Geim is also notable for being the only person to win both the Ig Nobel and the Nobel prizes as an individual – he was behind the supermaterial “graphene”, for which he won the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics.

Franken-burger Test tube burger “grown” in a lab

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Yummeroo “The burgers are done guy’s come n git it.”

From http://www.dailymail.co.uk / By VICTORIA WOOLLASTON and RACHEL REILLY

The ‘Frankenburger’ tastes GOOD: World’s first test-tube patty is sampled in London – and ‘it tastes of meat but could be juicier’

  • The 142g patty cost £250,000 to make and consists of meat grown in a lab
  • Total of 20,000 strips of meat were grown in petri dishes in the Netherlands
  • The artificial meat was electrically stimulated to bulk up the ‘muscle’ and then blended with 200 pieces of lab-grown animal fat
  • Red beetroot juice and saffron added to provide authentic beef colouring
  • It has also been revealed that one of the burger’s financial backers is computer entrepreneur, and Google co-founder, Sergey Brin

Scientist-turned-chef Professor Mark Post produced the burger from 20,000 tiny strips of meat grown from cow stem cells.

He believes it could herald a food revolution and expects artificial meat products appearing in supermarkets in as little as 10 years.

The demonstration was originally planned for October last year, with celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal cooking the burger for a mystery guest.

The burger was fried in a pan and served to two volunteers – US-based food author Josh Schonwald and Austrian food researcher Hanni Ruetzler.

It has also been revealed that one of the burger’s financial backers is computer entrepreneur and Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Professor Post’s team at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands conducted experiments which progressed from mouse meat to pork and finally beef.

Before the burger was cooked, he said: ‘What we are going to attempt is important because I hope it will show cultured beef has the answers to major problems that the world faces.

‘Our burger is made from muscle cells taken from a cow.

The raw ingredients are 0.02in (0.5mm) thick strips of pinkish yellow lab-grown tissue.

Professor Post was confident he could produce a burger that was almost indistinguishable from one made from a slaughtered animal.

And perhaps he wasn’t far off. After taking a mouthful, taster Ms Ruetzler said: ‘I was expecting the texture to be more soft… I know there is no fat in it so I didn’t know how juicy it would be.

‘It’s close to meat. It’s not that juicy. The consistency is perfect (but) I miss salt and pepper!’

Professor Post pointed out that livestock farming is becoming unsustainable, with demand for meat rocketing around the world.

Unveiling the research last year at a science meeting in Vancouver, Canada, he said: ‘Meat demand is going to double in the next 40 years. Right now we are using 70% of all our agricultural capacity to grow meat through livestock.

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I am not sure if I could ever really enjoy lab grown meat. It sure does not look all that tasty. 

See the finished product and video at the link below.

bon appetit

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2384715/The-Frankenburger-tastes-GOOD-Worlds-test-tube-patty-sampled-London–tastes-meat-juicier.html