No, his name isn’t Steven Austin. However, forty years after the “Six Million Dollar Man” made its debut on national TV, a true life bionic man is set to be introduced to the world as the subject of a Smithsonian Channel documentary entitled “The Incredible Bionic Man. The program will chronicle engineers' attempt to “create a functioning body using artificial parts from 17 manufacturers around the globe ranging from a working kidney and circulation system to cochlear and retina implants.”
“This is the first time they've been assembled together, says Richard Walker, managing director of Shadow Robot Co. and the lead roboticist on the project, who added that "the robot, which stands 6’6” tall, has about 60%-70% of the function of a human. It stands, 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.”
However, while the robot bears the real-life face of 36-year-old social psychologist Bertolt Meyer of the University of Zurich who was born without his lower left arm and wears a bionic prosthesis, it is missing a brain, as well as skin, a liver and other digestive organs.
"I thought it was rather revolting to be honest," he commented. "It was quite a shock to see a face that closely resembles what I see in the mirror every morning on this kind of dystopian looking machine."
Viewers can see the “Incredible Bionic Man “ Sunday, Oct. 20 at 9 pm on the Smithsonian Channel.