‘World’s first cyborg’ Dr Peter Scott-Morgan wants to become part-robot to tackle his motor neuron disease
A TERMINALLY-ILL scientist is on a mission to become the world’s first cyborg in a bid to combat his muscle wasting disease.
Dr Peter Scott-Morgan, 62, wants to enhance his deteriorating body with a high-tech exoskeleton and a mind-reading computer.
Brit scientist Dr Peter Scott-Morgan is on a quest to become part-human, part-robot to combat motor neuron disease[/caption]
Diagnosed with motor neuron disease (MND) in 2017 – the same condition that afflicted Professor Stephen Hawking – Peter refused to accept his fate and embarked on a quest to become a fully-fledged cyborg.
The robotics expert, based in Torquay, Devon, has already “re-plumbed” his stomach to avoid needing a carer to eat and go to the bathroom, and has even ditched his voice box for a digital one, The Telegraph reports.
He eventually hopes to walk using an exoskeleton and use an animated avatar to speak and act out his facial expressions on a computer screen.
Peter is the subject of a Channel 4 documentary airing next week, “Peter: The Human Cyborg”.
Diagnosed with motor neuron disease in 2017, Peter refused to accept his fate and embarked on a quest to become a fully-fledged cyborg[/caption]
“Think of it as a science experiment,” he says during the show, according to The Telegraph.
“This is cyborg territory, and I intend to be a human guinea pig to see just how far we can turn science fiction into reality.”
The documentary was filmed over two years and follows Peter from his tragic MND diagnosis to now.
The AI buff, who has a PhD in robotics, was given two years to live by doctors, a prognosis that meant he should have passed away last year.
The robotics expert wants to use a digital avatar in place of his face as his muscles waste away[/caption]
Peter has said he wants to become “the most advanced human cybernetic organism ever created in 13.8billion years”.
He hopes his journey can save other MND sufferers from being “locked in”, a process in which the mind lives while the body no longer functions.
“You feel very afraid watching him deteriorate,” Francis, the scientist’s husband and partner of 40 years, says. “It’s traumatic.”
Peter is working with leading artificial intelligence (AI) pioneers and robotics experts to extend his life.
HUMAN TO ‘CYBORG’
- A laryngectomy has separated Peter’s oesophagus and trachea. The operation prevents the risk of him swallowing and choking on saliva, but removes his voicebox.
- Though he’ll no longer be able to speak with his biological voice, he’s instead banked his voice on a computer, meaning his new voice will be able to speak emotively – and in other languages if he wants.
- Scientists have also designed a face avatar, which he can use to show expressions if he loses muscle control.
- An electric wheelchair enables him to be upright, sitting or laid down.
- He is fed through a tube and has a catheter and colostomy bag attached so he doesn’t need to eat or use the toilet.
They’ve created a cutting-edge AI system that will eventually let him use his eyes to control an avatar that speaks in his own voice.
The same team – some who worked with Stephen Hawking – created a “Charlie 2.0” wheelchair.
The advanced piece of engineering will include a laptop and eye tracker as well as other requirements.
Other bodily functions have also been replaced – Peter is now fed through a tube and has a catheter and colostomy bag attached.
Peter with his husband, Francis. The pair have been together for 40 years[/caption]
Last year, the pioneering patient underwent a laryngectomy, a complex operation to separate his oesophagus and trachea.
The procedure meant he wouldn’t run any risk of swallowing and choking on his saliva – but removed his biological voicebox.
Peter embraced his transition to a digital voice, tweeting: “This is my last post as Peter 1.0.
“Tomorrow 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.
“I’m not dying, I’m transforming. Oh, how I love science.”
Peter has already undergone multiple high-risk surgeries to change his body[/caption]
The Scott-Morgan Foundation, which he set up with husband Francis, seeks to use AI, robotics and other high-tech systems to transform the lives of those “restricted by age, ill-health, disability, or any other physical or mental disadvantages.”
On his website, Dr Scott-Morgan said this vision is far from just a dream: “We are within touching distance of changing everything. I’m not dying – I’m transforming.”
“This is a terminal disease like you’ve never seen it before. And as far as I’m concerned, bring it on.
“MND hasn’t even begun to bring me to my knees. And even long after I’m locked in, I will still be standing tall.”
“Peter: The Human Cyborg” by Sugar Films airs August 24 on Channel 4.
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