So far, this week hasn’t been an easy one for cyborgs. First, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing rejected the idea to construct a RoboCop statue in tribute to the fictional upholder of justice. Second, we hear that NYU professor Wafaa Bilal has had to remove a surgically implanted camera from the back of his head after his body rejected one of the three titanium posts that held it in place.
So, is there anything good to report from the world of cybernetic organisms? Well, yes, there is! Advances are taking place to bridge the gap between science fiction and reality, and we figure now is the best time to shine a positive light on the field. After the jump, meet some awesome real-life cyborgs, including an artist who can hear colors and a guy who put his nervous system online.
A leader in the field, this British scientist worked on Project Cyborg, an experiment that involved embedding a computer chip into his arm that could control doors, lights, heaters, and more. He also connected his nervous system to the internet, allowing him to move a robotic arm located at the University of Reading while sitting in a room at Columbia University in New York.
Neil Harbisson is officially a government-recognized cyborg. This young, European artist is colorblind, but due to some nifty technology and an electronic third eye, Harbisson can perceive 360 different hues through different sounds projected into his earlobe.
This guy has been downloading video through his camera lens since the early ’80s. Steven Mann, who received his PhD from MIT and is now a professor at the University of Toronto, has been recognized as one of the world’s first cyborgs. With his futuristic visor, Mann is also capable of watching a tiny computer screen at all times, most likely to look up information on Google while engaging in casual conversation.
The first woman and man to receive bionic arms from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), these two may not have super strength, but they have the ability to grab different objects by repositioning their thumbs. For not having arms at one point, that’s pretty remarkable.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (and a growing number of seniors)
This former governor of California has a new hip, two new heart valves, and a femur supported with screws, cables and a metal plate. Is he a cyborg? Well, the same question could be asked about his role as the Terminator. With developments in health and science, more and more people are carrying around some artificial body part, and therefore qualify as cyborgs to some degree. That’s right: the cyborgs are here.