Rex, the bionic man has arrived and is here to stay. At least for a month, stationed at the London Science Museum. Rex is a two-meter tall artificial human, constructed from the most sophisticated bionic and prosthetic technology its developers could get their hands on. Rex, which is short for Robotic EXoskeleton, was created for the British Channel 4 documentary “How to Build a Bionic Man”. The cost to built Rex was around $1 million. Rex will be exhibited from February 7th until March 11th in the Science Museum of London. Subsequently, Rex will take flight to The Smithsonian in Washington, DC, which, had it been done earlier, would have made Ben Stiller’s 2009 movie Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian a whole lot simpler, as Rex is already alive.
UK roboticists Richard Walker and Matthew Godden of Shadow Robot (London, UK) were responsible for assembling all the components into a humanoid robot. All the artificial limbs, organs and other parts were lent from eighteen companies and universities to create Rex. The skull of Rex’s head is modeled on Bertolt Meyer, a Swiss psychologist, who has a bionic hand himself and also is the presenter of the British Channel 4 News documentary on this project.
Prepare to be amazed, as some of the components of Rex are: a self teaching arm with 26 degrees of movement; glasses that send images to a microchip in the retina that sends the info to the computer brain; synthetic blood; artificial lungs, an artificial pancreas with insulin stored in gel which softens and liquefies in the presence of excess glucose; a self-regulating artificial kidney, made up of a silicon nanoscale filtration system; a man-made spleen, bladder, ear, trachea and arteries; cochlear implants; a speech generator; bionic ankles using a motor and spring system to mimic human calf muscle and Achilles tendon; and of course a battery powered heart.
Our automobiles have already gone hybrid. So when will we go hybrid ourselves? Will we stop at replacing bodily functions or will the future bring us enhanced bodily functions? And how appropriate will it be to ask these questions to Rex himself… Rex will be disassembled after he returns from DC to London after his time in the Smithsonian, but our guess is that he’ll be back.
Here’s a video report from UK’s Channel 4 News:
More from Channel 4 News: Bionic man makes us ask what it means to be human
Channel 4 documentary (probably only plays within a subset of the Commonwealth): How to Build a Bionic Man
Rex in the Science Museum London: Bionic Man Exhibit