FACT: On 14th March 2002 Professor Kevin Warwick became the worlds first Cyborg.



C Y B O R G  2 . 0



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Cyborg Workshop

Before I left Reading, Kevin and Mark had gone over what properties they were looking for in an ideal exoskeleton.  As soon as I got back to the workshop in Islington, London; I began working out how to make it work?  Thankfully, I already had two things in my favour:
i) Years earlier, I had attempted a 1:1 scale animatronic arm - so still knew my human anatomy quite well.
ii) My own artistic style of work was already heavily based around a 'Biotechnology' theme which I was using.

The Brace Prototype

The first solution I came up with was based along the idea of a brace: designed to lock the Radius and Ulna bones at the wrist joint, and further restrict rotation by anchoring the 1st metacarpal bone (thumb) to the wrist.  This solution was based on body mechanics so could not fail.
Satisfied that I had cracked the ergonomics relatively quickly, I moved my attentions to the next challenge: locating and affixing all the circuitry and associated devices to the subject's arm.

Since their positioning was one of the governing factors controlled by Cyborg Central at Reading University, it was simply a matter of building a scaffold to house them in the position required; and connect the housing to the restraint device I was building.

As our job was to provide the SFX (special effects) on Project Cyborg: relative to designing something suitability dramatic, enough to engage the eye and capture the imagination - as Kevin put it (*although that is not a direct quote), the aesthetics were initially left totally up to us - to propose ideas along those lines.
Feeling that the look should therefore reflect something of the properties of exoskeletonisation; I concluded that it was most appropriate to make reference to the bones which were, effectively, being fused together - so, I gave the first piece lots of organic feel; and the appearance of bone growth out from the PCBs.  It was a concept that I was sure Reading would approve?

...but, unbeknown to us, at the time; a number of important developments at Cyborg Central were about to mean doom for our first design proposal:
i) Medical opinion over where the implant should be accessed on the arm.
ii) Last minute technical modifications to the size of the main PCB.
iii) Differences of opinion began to arise over the artistic direction.

We are forced to come up with a totally new solution.


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Designing the future of today

Photographs by kind permission of Marc Gasson

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