By BJ Reyes
In the news ...
If you're interested in what an actual 'bionic man' might look like and how it might function, be sure to tune in to the Smithsonian Channel this weekend.
"The Incredible Bionic Man," a documentary scheduled to air Sunday, follows engineers' efforts in making a functioning body using artificial parts, including a working kidney and circulation system along with cochlear and retina implants.
According to an Associated Press story:
... 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.
Based on the photos at the Smithsonian website, the prototype hardly resembles Steve Austin. It's actually 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.
Photos also reveal that their 'bionic man' doesn't appear to have a femur. No femur, eh?! Advantage: Reyes.