Cyborgs | The Transition From Fiction to Reality

The first time that the cyborg concept appeared was in the sixties when the possibility of merging the human body with machines to create a unique and perfect organism was raised. Nowadays, many people carry technology with them to lead a comfortable everyday life.

The bionic industry is accelerated thanks to the advances that are being made in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and nanotechnology. Due to these leaps and bounds, the concept we have about cyborgs will change shortly.

Many times we have seen futuristic movies where there were robots with the human appearance and even people with robotic components called cyborgs. Well, thanks to scientific and technological advances we can make the transition from fiction to reality.

Where does the term cyborg come from?

The term cyborgs were coined in 1960, in the full space race. The scientists Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline used this word as an acronym for cybernetic and organism in an article that raised the possibility of creating a system that fuses the human being with a machine. What they didn’t know is that it would take several years to get to see the first people willing to incorporate technology into their bodies.

To know the first case of a person fused with a machine we have to go back to 1997 when the doctor Philip Kennedy implanted electrodes to his patients in the brain. Kennedy’s patient was a war veteran who suffered from paralysis. Thanks to this experiment, the patient could control the machine through nerve impulses.

Another best-known case happened in 2001. Jesse Sullivan suffered an accident and lost both of his arms and the Chicago Rehabilitation Institute designed for him bionic arms that Sullivan could control with electrodes in his brain. This is when the creation of machine-men begins to be seen.

The first recognized cyborgs

At present, there are many people who incorporate technological parts in their body, however strange it may seem.

An example is Sweden. The Nordic country has more than 4,000 citizens who carry an electronic component in their bodies. Which is the reason? Very simple: comfort. Many users prefer to have a chip implanted that serves as an identity card, and even a credit card, to carry out tasks easily. But despite using implants, these people are not considered cybernetic organisms.

There is only one case in which a government recognizes a person as a cyborg officially. This is Neil Harbisson; a Briton who was born with a congenital disease called achromatopsia, which prevents him from seeing the real colors. Neil could only see grayscale, black and white.

Therefore, what did Neil Harbisson do to become a cyborg? An antenna was implanted that is born in the neck and is placed on his forehead.

Thanks to that device you can see colors in the form of sounds in the brain, and even have the ability to perceive ultraviolet and infrared light.

Harbisson got his purpose at this point but had problems. For example, the British government did not allow the photo of your passport to appear with the antenna implanted. Finally, after a long struggle for the authorities to accept his passport, he got it officially recognized as a cyborg.

The most connected man in the world

The case of Neil Harbisson is best known by users, but there are more examples such as Chris Dancy, better known as “the most connected man in the world. “

Chris Dancy’s lifestyle is closer to that of a robot than that of a human being. It all started in 2009 when Dancy started using wearables in his body and currently has 11 implanted devices that help him measure his vital data at all times, such as constants, body temperature, and weight, among others.

Cyborg Foundation

In 2010, the Cyborg Foundation was created. A foundation created by Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas, the world’s first cyborg woman who implanted seismic sensors on her feet to detect earthquakes on the planet in real-time.

The purpose of this foundation is to help humans become cyborgs and defend their rights. Over the years, the foundation has collaborated with several institutions to improve the development of technology and about cyborgs in particular.

With the emergence of this trend, it will be a matter of years that we see a concept normalized that decades ago was more typical of science fiction.

Also the possibility that we are facing an evolution where all human beings can implant technology in their bodies to become an improved species thanks to these resources.

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