Robocop was a worldwide cyborg phenomenon in the 80s and 90s. Some of us may not be thrilled with the idea of Hollywood remaking Robocop but at this point, well, resistance is futile. The new Robocop film is set to begin showing on February 7, 2014 and will star Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jay Baruchel, Jennifer Ehle, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste.
The film is set in 2028, with the giant corporation OmniCorp leading the robotics field. After the success of the conglomerate’s military drones overseas, OmniCorp now wants to bring its technology to the home front. When Alex Murphy (Kinnaman), a loving family man and good Detroit cop, is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp uses cutting-edge technology to save Alex from permanent paralysis by turning him into a part-man, part-machine law enforcer.
Video credit: CBMTrailers | Youtube
Fan reactions has so far been mixed. Personally, I like the slick futuristic look of the labs and equipment and such but I think the new version has lost the grittiness of the original. Instead of a brutal murder, Murphy is injured by a more impersonal attack: a car bomb. They even changed Robocop’s iconic look from silver to black! He now looks like Batman and Iron Man’s lovechild. Robocop’s new look sans visor is also too polished in my opinion — he looks just like an attractive guy wearing a black suit, whereas in the original, it is more visually obvious that he is mostly machine, with a face tacked on.
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Cyborg Camp 2013 will be held in MAKe’s warehouse in Vancouver BC, Canada. CyborgCamp is a not-for-profit conference about technology and how it affects humanity. Topics such as the the Internet of Things, future of communication, anthropology, cyborg technology, psychology, and social media will be discussed in the event. There will also be an art gallery and interactive installations/wearable computing.
When: May 11, 2013 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM (PDT)
Where: MAKe, 257 East 7th Avenue, Vancouver BC, Canada
Amber Case – Director, Esri R&D
Shane Luke, VP of Product, Recon Instruments
Michael Smit, CEO Invoke Media / Invoke labs
Ben Bashord, Experience Architect
Alex Beim, Founder of Tangible Interaction
Kharis O’Connell, Director of User Experience, Global Mechanic
Ryan Betts, Director of User Experience at Bazinga
Click here for more details about the speakers and their subjects of expertise. A map of the venue can be found here.
Cyborg Camp YVR 2013 is organized by The Holon Group in association with MAKe. Tickets are sold for CA$ 75 at Eventbrite.
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“Cyborg Foundation”, the short documentary by Spanish director Rafel Duran Torrent won the $100,000 Grand Jury Prize in the Focus Forward Filmmaker Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The short film features 30-year-old Neil Harbisson, the first man to be officially recognized a cyborg by a government (his device is included in his passport photo).
Harbisson was born with achromatopsia, a condition where a person is completely colorblind. In 2004, he collaborated with the computer scientist Adam Montandon to have a head-mounted camera called eyeborg implanted in his skull. The eyeborg converts colors into audio waves in real-time, allowing Harbisson to “hear” the colors he sees. Harbisson calls this unique perception “sonochromatism”. The device can detect 360 colors that the human eye can normally perceive, as well as infrared and ultraviolet light.
In 2010, Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas founded the Cyborg Foundation, an international non-profit organization that aims to help humans become cyborgs, promote the use of cybernetics as part of the human body, and to defend cyborg rights. The foundation has also experimented with other sensory devices, such as an “earborg,” which converts sound into color, and a “speedborg,” which lets people detect movement through vibrating electronic earrings.
For Harbisson, what makes him a cyborg is not the union between the eyeborg and his head but the union between the software and his brain — his body and technology have united.
Image credit: TEDGlobal 2012 (Own work) | CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Video credit: focusforwardfilms | Youtube
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For those of you who are interested in transhumanism and are located near Stanford University, you may want to check out the upcoming second-annual Advancing Humanity Symposium. The event is hosted by the Stanford Transhumanist Association and is free and open to the public.
Nine speakers, divided into three panels, will each present a distinct perspective on how emerging technologies and disruptive innovation may shape the near future of humanity.
When: Saturday, March 23, 2013, 10:00am-5:00pm in PDT
Where: Cubberley Auditorium, 485 LASUEN MALL, Stanford, California 94305
Defining Human – 10AM
Neil Harbisson (Cyborg Foundation) “I Listen to Color”
Gregory Stock (Author of Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future) “To Upgrade is Human”
Natasha Vita-More (Humanity+) “How to Build a Better Being”
Lunch Break – 12PM
Pioneering Ventures – 1PM
Stuart Armstrong (Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute) “Space Exploration and Colonization”
Alex Lightman (Author of Brave New Unwired World) “Why Every Stanford Student Should be a Transhumanist”
Dickson Despommier (Columbia’s Environmental Health Sciences Department) “Vertical Farming and the Future of Urbanization”
Representing the Future – 3PM
Giuseppe Vatinno (Italian Parliament) “One Giant Leap for Transhumanist Politics”
Maria Konovalenko (Russian Longevity Party) “Catalyze or Die Trying”
Micah Daigle (Collective Agency) “Resilient Individuals and Syntropic Systems”
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/338219042964586/
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A recent Channel 4 documentary titled How to Build a Bionic Man demonstrated the most advanced synthetic organs, limbs, and blood, through the construction of a 6.5-foot tall bionic man named Rex (short for ‘robotic exoskeleton’).
The program featured the social psychologist Bertolt Meyer and Rex — the first complete bionic man created by Shadow Robot Company’s Richard Walker and Matthew Godden using almost $1 million-worth of cutting edge body parts borrowed from leading laboratories and manufacturers. Rex has camera-equipped glasses, a cochlear implant, a battery-powered artificial heart, pancreas, kidney, spleen, trachea, legs, lungs, and synthetic blood made up of nanoparticles.
Bertolt Meyer was born without a left hand and now wears an i-Limb Ultra prosthetic hand. He was also the model for Rex’s face. In an interview with Telegraph, Meyer stated that he freaked out when he first saw Rex and felt awkward seeing his face on the mechanical man.
While assembled by roboticists, Rex is, strictly speaking, not a robot. He’s not a cyborg either. His parts are all man-made but fully-functional — each of them can or soon can replace a human being’s natural body part or internal organ.
Rex is currently on display at London’s Science Museum as part of the free exhibit How Much of You Can Be Rebuilt? until March 11, 2013.
Image and video credit: Channel4News / Youtube
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Remember the Cyberpunk version of M.C. Escher’s “Drawing Hands” that I posted last November?
The Canadian digital artist Debra Mason (more popularly known online as Shorra) has created an updated version of William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s “The First Mourning”. Shorra’s version is called Death of a Cyborg. “The First Mourning” or “Premier Deuil” in French was painted by William-Adolphe Bouguereau in 1888. It depicts the moment when Adam and Eve found the body of their son Abel, who was killed by his brother Cain.
Here’s the original version for reference:
I like what Shorra did with her version. It is not overdone, which would have looked out of place given the style of the original painting. The cyborg details match the color scheme and overall tone of the painting. The new version retains the feelings of the original.
You can check out her other works of art at her Web site. A good mix of fantasy and whimsy. She also does commissions and restorations.
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