Is the Six-Million-Dollar Bionic Man possible?
Can we give ourselves super vision, super strength and super speed?
Science fiction is littered with the theme of upgrading the human body with machinery.
In the 1970s classic TV series The Six Million Dollar Man, the main character – astronaut Steve Austin – is horrendously injured in a test flight accident. He was a man “barely alive” but, as the title sequence explained, science could come to his rescue.
“Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.”
His array of upgrades included an eye with zoom and infrared vision. Bionic legs which could give a car a good race and an arm with the strength of a bulldozer.
Meanwhile, as we have been discovering in the Bionic Bodies series, bionics are having a transformative role in the real world. Artificial hearts implanted into the chest can keep patients alive until a transplant becomes available. Cochlear implants have restored hearing to people who were once deaf. Bionic eyes are giving sight to the blind and a range of hands, arms and legs are restoring lost movement.
But the focus is on keeping people alive or restoring lost function. What about the potential to expand capabilities, what is known as human augmentation? Could a six-million-dollar man ever be built?
Read the full story on BBC News
Category: World News |