It used to be that cyborgization was in the future. Of course, the futurologists predicted that we would duly have the artificial limbs and organs, but most people probably didn't realise that this future would actually come. It was about science fiction films, such as Robocop, not about reality for which you plan and prepare yourself.

This has changed. There are millions of disabled people who need cybernetic implants. As these people get them and get out starting to lead a normal life among us, we will gradually come to regard cyborgisation as normal and beneficial.


Jesse Sullivan, the World's First "Bionic Man"

4 more patients as of 2006, including a woman, Claudia Mitchell.




  • Proprio The world’s first intelligent foot module, provides unprecedented physiological benefits for transtibial amputees. A wide and automated range of ankle flexion with proven Flex-Foot dynamics means function is as close as you can get today to the human foot.


Matt Nagle is paralyzed. He's also a pioneer in the new science of brain implants. BrainGate

Kevin Warwick had neural implants (in his hand). He was able to "connect" with his wife, who had a similar implant. When she moved her hand, he felt an impulse in his brain. [1]

≤==Heart== Robert Tools (151 days), Tom Christerson (512 days) Abiocor

  • Various pacemakers

Support their demise, revolution brings change.


The first modern cochlear implants went on the market in Australia in 1982, and by 2004 approximately 82,500 people worldwide had been fitted with one.

  • Esteem an internal not external hearing aid not a cochlea implant.


  • Cheri Robertson (16th patient in the world) - camera + electrodes in the brain, some degree of vision (tiny outlines of objects, can use for 1 hour/day) restored. New device allows woman to see, even without eyes (video). Cost is $120000. This works for people without optic nerves.

Another approach is retinal implants.

1.5 million people in world suffer from retinitis pigmentosa. 700,000 in western world suffer from age-related macular degeneration each year. In both: retinal cells at back of eye that process light gradually die. (Source.)

In the future, we'd like to be able to tap vision, so that we can have night vision, heat vision, heads up displays.

Presently, we don't have sufficient technology to grant sufficient resolution to read characters from a page; Only enough to interact with larger objects, the size of hats.

Current work:

See also: Wikipedia:Artificial eye.

Summary of an aricle: 'Bionic eye' may help reverse blindness - 31 March 2005

Daniel Palanker is a researcher in a team at Stanford that used the following technique with rats: Light is read by a video camera mounted to goggles, processed by a computer, then sent to an infrared LED display behind the goggles. The IR light is picked up by a 3 mm wide chip behind the retina. As the chip receives IR light, it is simulatenously powered, and converts light to electrical signals to to cells in the inner retina, which in turn are relayed to the brain. If I understand their paper right, the light-sensing cells within the retina actually seek to connect with the chip.

The article mentions work at U of Southern California, U of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center, who also develop retinal implants, but he thinks his project's resolution is much higher. Daniel Palanker said the implant could provide 20/80, (20/20=normal, 20/400=blind,) which would be sufficient to read large print.

Progress: Before testing on humans, team needs to trial larger implants on bigger animals, and test safety. The study was partly funded by the US Air Force and VISX Corp, a laser correction company.

some brief history


An artificial cornea is in sight, thanks to biomimetic hydrogels, [2]


In 2006 ITAP (Intraosseous Transcutaneous Amputation Prosthesis) technology that enables artificial limbs to be directly attached to a human bone without risk of infection was developed. It involves securing a titanium rod directly into the bone. [3] Previously people had to "wear" the prostheses on the outside using complicated systems to fixate them.

  • ProDisc PRODISC-L is second artificial disc approved

On August 14, 2006, the PRODISC-L Total Disc Replacement was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use as a treatment for functionally disabling pain from lumbar degenerative disc disease.



Electronic medical implants have been in development since the 1950s with the first cardiac pacemakers. They have since expanded to include defibrillators for the heart, neurostimulators for the nervous system, including those implanted into the brain, drug delivery infusion pumps and cochlear implants to assist hearing.


ID chip

The latest implants are brain computer interface devices to help the paralysed regain control and communication, and electronic tags for instant medical records retrieval. [4]

What other artificial organs and limbs exist?

Visions of the future

See also

External links

This is a factual article as opposed to fiction or scenario. It describes the current state of the field and explains expected future developments without speculation or fantasy.