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Britain's $1 million bionic man

Wednesday, 06 Feb, 2013 - 01:37

Feb. 6 - A million-dollar bionic man complete with artificial organs, synthetic blood and robot limbs goes on display at London's Science Museum. Sonia Legg reports.

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He's called Rex and he's Britain's first million dollar bionic man. He comes complete with a life-like face, a set of artificial organs and robotic limbs. But he's not for sale - he was built by robotics experts for a British TV documentary. Swiss psychologist Berthold Mayer - who was born without a left hand - has been trying out Rex's latest technology (SOUNDBITE) (English) SWISS SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGIST, BERTOLT MEYER, SAYING: "For the first time I was able to flex my wrist with that prosthetic limb, I had never been able to do that before. Of course it was a bit frustrating to be told that not only is this technology not ready yet but also when it becomes available it will be so expensive that it will be completely out of the question for me. I won't be able to afford it and my insurance won't pay for it. That also highlights some of the ethical issues at stake when we look at technology like this. The technology is there and more and more will become available but fewer and fewer people will be able to get it funded through their insurance companies." Rex also has an artificial pancreas, spleen and windpipe, along with a kidney which could soon be ready to replace the real thing. It even bleeds if injured. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SWISS SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGIST, BERTOLT MEYER, SAYING: "One of my personal favourites is the artificial blood that runs through these tubings, because this is made of nano-particles that are able to bind oxygen and give them off, just like real blood can do, but this isn't real blood, this is nano-particles. I thought that was absolutely science fiction." Rex is on display at London's Science Museum. But it may not be long before many of his parts are being used for medical purposes not just display.

Britain's $1 million bionic man

Wednesday, 06 Feb, 2013 - 01:37

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