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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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One million dollar man

One million dollar Rex -- short for robotic exoskeletons -- was built using the most advanced artificial limbs and organs from across the world.

And he shows that from bionic arms and legs to artificial organs, science is beginning to catch up with science fiction in the race to replace body parts with man-made alternatives.

Leading UK roboticists Richard Walker and Matthew Godden build Rex using $1 million-worth of state of the art limbs and organs borrowed from some of these world leading laboratories and manufacturers.

Rex's components include an arm with 26 degrees of movement, one less than a human arm, which teaches itself to work, glasses which send images to a microchip in the retina which then sends electrical impulses to the brain, and a battery powered heart which is currently being used for temporary donors.

Rex also has bionic ankles, which use a motor and spring system to mimic the actions of the human calf muscle and Achilles tendon.

Rex was created for C4 show How to Build a Bionic Man which follows social psychologist Bertolt Meyer, who lost his left hand as a child, as he meets scientists working at the cutting edge.

Dr Meyer, whose £30,000 bionic hand is the most advanced on the market, said he had a “personal interest” in the “explosion of innovation” which has occurred in the last six years.

One organ that science cannot yet match is the human brain. Made up of a hundred billion neurons, it is the most complex structure in the known universe.

But scientists at the University of Southern California are studying the electrical signals in rats' brains to develop microchips that may one day be able to restore memory and even cure Alzheimer's by working with living brains.

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