A “bionic man” developed at the University of Zurich paid a visit to the U.S. capital earlier this month, displaying some of the most advanced prosthetics technology available.
The international team that built the robot has recreated more than 50% of the human body—including limbs and a complete circulatory system—in the remote controlled humanoid contraption. Not only can he walk and talk, the robot can also breathe using artificial lungs. The 6-ft. robot has been named “Frank” because of his jerky, Frankenstein-like gait.
Shadow Robot Co. in England spearheaded the assembly of the robot using donated components. Those components include an exoskeleton from REX Bionics; a pair of robotic ankles and feet from BiOM, which were designed (and are also worn) by engineer Hugh Herr of MIT’s Media Lab; and the Touch Bionics i-LIMB prosthetic hand, a device also worn by University of Zurich social psychologist Bertolt Meyer, who designed the robot (Frank’s face is a silicon replica of his creator’s mug). He also includes 200 processors and nearly a million sensors, along with 26 individual motors and 70 circuit boards.
The robot appeared in Washington, D.C., in support of a documentary about the project, “The Incredible Bionic Man,” which is airing on the Smithsonian Channel.