No, I’m not talking about Lee Majors and his depressingly (or thankfully) small acting career. I’m describing Frank, the Bionic Man! Frank is a synthetic creation built for a Smithsonian Channel documentary about the power and worth of artificial prosthesis to aid and improve human life.
Granted he looks like a metallic Frankenstein monster rather than the green skinned iconic Boris Karloff, but the differences in these man-made monstrosities couldn’t be greater. Frank debuts some of the most cutting edge medical implements we are capable of putting to use these days.
The “heart” (haha) of Frank’s bio-system is the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart which is currently in use as a temporary bypass for heart patients waiting for a human transplant replacement. Though representatives of the SynCardia company inform us that a full permanent artificial replacement is right around the corner.
But Frank’s bio-mechanical wonders don’t end with a heart. He also sports a prototype lung which is capable of being implanted in a human body and can oxygenate blood. He comes fully equipped with artificial kidneys to filter out bodily wastes, a replacement spleen, and even a prosthetic pancreas!
The most amazing aspect of Frank however could be his plastic blood, which is a synthetic blood replacement that includes “fake” red blood cells and iron capable of being oxygenated in his prosthetic lung, and carrying oxygen enriched fluid throughout his (or your) body!
Frank can see using the Argus II ocular replacement system which transfers electric impulses from his replacement eyes to the brain where our amazing gray matter can learn to translate this information into vision! He hears using cutting-edge cochlear implants, and can even speak thanks to the “NeoSpeech” generating program. His complex internal computer system (or positronic brain) even allows him to be capable of short simple conversations!He even utilizes a 3D printed trachea which is spun with the recipients stem cells to prevent rejection. With a brain, a heart, and a little programmed courage, Frank could give all of Dorothy’s friends a run for their money!
Interestingly enough, this $6 Million Dollar Man can be assembled for less (slightly) than $1 Million! Take that Colonel Steve Austen! And while I’m not running to my local sawbones to have my guts ripped out and replaced with mechanical steel, I’m happy to know the options are open if I ever decide to upgrade myself into a Cyberman!