Ever since the earliest humans made stone tools, we have tried to extend our powers. The bicycle, the telescope and the gun all arose from this same impulse. Today, we carry smartphones – supercomputers, really – in our pockets, giving us infinite information and unlimited communication at our fingertips. Our relationship with technology is becoming increasingly intimate, as wearable devices such as Google Glass, Samsung Gear Fit (a smartwatch-cum-fitness tracker) and the Apple Watch show.
We have entered the age of the cyborg, or cybernetic organism: a living thing both natural and artificial. A growing cadre of innovators are taking things further, using replacement organs, robotic prosthetics and implants not to restore bodily functions but to alter or enhance them.
“This is the frontline of the Human Enhancement Revolution,”
Rob Spence is a one eyed filmmaker who has a prosthetic eye with a wireless video camera embedded in it. Its not connected to his brain but it does provide the world’s first literal point of view including glancing around and blinking.
The Eyeborg Project began when one-eyed filmmaker, Rob Spence decided he wanted a prosthetic eye with a video camera in it. Ocularist Phil Bowen was the first on board who designed a two part prosthetic eye shell that could house electronics. Next came Kosta Grammatis, a multi-talented engineer who designed and executed the world’s first wireless camera inside a prosthetic eye…on Rob’s kitchen table.
Kosta then found and got Rf-links.com on board. A world leader in RF wireless design, they custom-made the innovative miniature camera and micro RF transmitter that is essential to our current and much improved model.
Electrical engineer Martin Ling joined the team last but played the crucial role of getting everything to work in the tiny confines of Phil Bowen’s prosthetic eye shell. He designed a circuit board to connect the tiny battery, camera and transmitter so it could send out what Rob’s eyecam sees to a receiver and beyond!
Bio hacking a forefront of a new kind of human evolution.
“Biohackers are upgrading their bodies without waiting for anyone to say it’s OK”
“I feel that we are all philosophers, and that those who describe themselves as a ‘philosopher’ simply do not have a day job to go to.”
Kevin Warwick is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Coventry University. Prior to that he was Professor of Cybernetics at The University of Reading, England. His research areas are artificial intelligence, control, robotics and biomedical engineering.
Kevin Warwick can justifiably claim to be the world’s first cyborg. In the 1990s, Reading University’s visiting professor of cybernetics started implanting RFID chips into himself. In 2002, he underwent pioneering surgery to have an array of electrodes attached to the nerve fibres in his arm. These linked directly from his nervous system to a computer to assess the latest technology for use with the disabled.
The Institute of Physics selected Kevin as one of only 7 eminent scientists to illustrate the ethical impact their scientific work can have: the others being Galileo, Einstein, Curie, Nobel, Oppenheimer and Rotblat.