London’s Science Museum Features World’s First Bionic Man; Whatever Happened to TV’s $6M Bionic Man, Woman? (VIDEOS)
By Vittorio Hernandez | February 7, 2013 10:08 AM EST
Britain's Science Museum in London unveiled on Tuesday in a special press preview the world's first bionic man complete with artificial organs, synthetic blood and robot limbs. Robotic Exoskeleton, nicknamed "Rex" is valued at $1 million.
It has artificial pancreas, kidney, spleen and trachea and a functional blood circulatory system.
Rex stands two metres and has a life-like face made by leading roboticists for the TV programme, How to Build a Bionic Man, a Channel 4 documentary.
Rex's introduction to the public was facilitated by Bertolt Meyer, a Swiss social psychologist who was born without a left hand and has benefited from a bionic replacement.
"I've looked around for new bionic technologies, out of personal interest, for a very long time and I think that until five or six years ago nothing much was happening . . . Then suddenly we are now at a point where we can build a body that is great and beautiful in its own special way," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Mr Meyer.
Rex comes a long way from the bionic man concept made by the 1970s hit TV series Six Million Dollar Man which starred Lee Majors. He played the character named Steve Austin, a former astronaut whose body was damaged by an air mishap.
A spin-off was made, showing a female version, Jaime Sommers, played by Lindsay Wagner. The two also made movies portraying their bionic characters.
Majors, the ex-husband of deceased original Charlie's Angel star and pin-up girl, Farrah Fawcett, is now in his 70s. The Los Angeles Times reported that Majors recently attended again public conventions for the launch of the TV series collection covering all five seasons from 1974 to 1978. The DVD collection was made available by TimeLife.
He also saw old TV friends, including Wagner and actor Richard Anderson who was his boss in the series. After the series was cancelled in 1978, Majors continued his acting career in TV shows, movies and as voice talent.
In 2012, he was seen in the Seattle film Matt's Chance with Edward Furlong, Margot Kidder and Gary Busey. On Feb 1, 2014, Majors said he would have a two-episode guest spot in Season 2 of Dallas where he will play Ken Richard, the former boyfriend of the character Sue Ellen Ewing.
He reconnected with Farrah before her death and even attended her funeral. He divorced her in 1982, married a former Playboy playmate in 1988 and married against an actress and model, Faith Cross, in 2002.
Wagner, after the cancellation of Bionic Woman, appeared in TV series and movies and was last seen in SyFy channel TV show Alphas in 2011 where she played the character of Dr Vanessa Calder. In 1987, she co-authored a book on acupressure to achieve results similar to a facelift.
The bionic characters portrayed by Majors and Wagner, however, are screen personas. In the real world, science is far from achieving bionic perfection, said Professor Steve Hsiao of the John Hopkins University in Baltimore.
"We have motors which can lift things but, if you want to mimic the dexterity of a hand, we are not there yet . . . What we are beginning to achieve is building prostheses which look like human body parts, but we are a long way from making ones which relay sensory information the way the human body does," iol Scitech quoted the professor.
The bionic man will open for public viewing beginning Thursday, Feb 7, the same day that the documentary on it will be aired over Channel 4 at 9 p.m. The exhibit runs until March 13.
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