tech2 News StaffOct 17, 2019 10:11:15 IST
An American scientist battling a muscle-wasting disease has announced that he is in-transition to become "the world's first full cyborg." The procedure is a part of a life-extension experiment involving the scientist — a world-renowned roboticist — who was told he had a year to live.
Approaching age 60, Dr Peter Scott-Morgan was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is currently untreatable. It causes muscle weakness, and often, visible wasting away of the patient's musculature.
Now, Scott-Morgan, who was given until 2019 to live, is on an attempting to have all his biological organs replaced with machinery. Once a full cyborg, Scott-Morgan will be able to control an artificial intelligence avatar that resembles his own face before his degenerative disease consumes his vital organs.
Scott-Morgan recently completed one of the first, critical steps on this journey: the removal of his voicebox. Without a voicebox, saliva can find its way into his lungs and cause him to suffocate – a big concern with ALS patients. He has also had a feeding tube inserted directly into his stomach, a catheter into his bladder and a colostomy bag directly onto his colon so he no longer needs to eat or excrete with any conscious muscle control.
The removal of his voicebox and movement via a top-end wheelchair which he said on Twitter is 'brilliantly engineered', allows him to stand, lie flat and go fast, have brought him a step closer in his transition from living a human life to surviving in a robotic one.
He has also created an avatar of himself before the first visible signs of ALS set in – a "face" with a range of facial expressions that Scott-Morgan will continue to use as the disease progresses and he loses control of his expressions and facial movements.
Part of the scientist's full cyborg technology is a revolutionary eye-tracking technology that will allow him to control multiple computers with his eyes alone. Among several other uses, this gives Scott-Morgan control of his own electronic bed and a hoist that helps him move around on his own.
A day before he underwent the laryngectomy (voice-box removal), Scott-Morgan announced the end of 'Peter 1.0' and the start of his life as a 'Full Cyborg' in the making – as 'Peter 2.0'.
"This is my last post as Peter 1.0. Tomorrow (Thursday, 10 October) I trade my voice for potentially decades of life as we complete the final medical procedure for my transition to Full Cyborg, the month I was told statistically I would be dead," he said in a tweet. "I'm not dying, I'm transforming. Oh, how I love science," he added.
With all the procedures he has lined up, their associated risks, and being terminally-ill, Scott-Morgan says he isn't interested in surviving ALS – he intends to 'thrive' as a cybernetic being. This vision is far from just a dream for the roboticist – "we are within touching distance of changing - everything. I'm not dying - I'm transforming!" he has said on his website.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.