Kevin Warwick, the first-ever cyborg, will be one of the stars of Future Port Prague, the largest futuristic festival of modern technologies in Central Europe to take place on September 6-7, 2018. He will discuss how he uses his body for technological experiments and research that carry with them a series of ethical questions in associations with technological options.
Kevin Warwick is a British scientist and professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading. He won worldwide acclaim for his series of experiments connecting the human nervous system with computers. He received the nickname Captain Cyborg after he became the first human in the world to try out what it’s like to have a cybernetically connected organism. Warwick had modified RFID chips implanted into his arms. They communicate and manipulate with items or equipment or with extra-sensory communication.
The first phase of research saw a simple RFID broadcasting chip implemented under Warwick’s skin that he could use to control doors, lights, heating, and other computer-managed systems.
The second phase included a more complex neural framework that incorporated a set of electrodes connected to an external “glove.” The equipment was directly connected with Warwick’s nervous system. This implant connected Warwick’s nervous system to the internet at Columbia University in the US. Through the internet, Warwick could remotely control a robotic arm at the University of Reading in England and receive feedback through sensors on the tips of his fingers. This experiment showed, for example, that people with amputated limbs could control their artificial replacements using magnetic implants.
“We’ve evolved as humans to have our brains and our body in the same place but with the technology, we have now that doesn’t have to be the case at all. Your brain can be in one place and your body can be wherever you want, as long as it’s networked in, connected together.”
Warwick’s wife Irena, who hails from the Czech Republic, also had a chip implanted into her body after a time. Together, they have successfully undergone testing the goal of which was to achieve telepathy where the signal between two people is transferred using the internet. The test was successful and the Warwicks became the first people in the world whose nervous systems electronically and fully communicated with one another.
“The experiment with my wife Irena for me was the most important bit that we did,” says Professor Warwick. “I know it was only in a fairly simplistic way, but for me, that was the biggest thing.
“I think she was skeptical of the results when I was saying we’ll be able to send signals from nervous systems, so she was pushing to be involved. And I’m glad she did because one other aspect to it is when you send signals between nervous systems it is very intimate. You’re really getting inside the body as it were.”