London: After spending six million dollars to create bionic superhero Steve Austin, scientists have now built a real bionic man from artificial limbs for a sixth of the price.
Known as Rex - short for robotic exoskeleton - his 6ft frame is made up of an array of artificial limbs and organs from around the world.
Built for a Channel 4 documentary exploring how far technology has developed, Rex raises ethical dilemmas.
Research on advanced prosthetics and artificial organs means scientists could soon not only replace missing body parts, but improve on them.
In the Six Million Dollar Man astronaut Steve Austin, played by Lee Majors, was left horribly injured after his craft crashed.
The opening sequence of the 1970s TV series featured an off-camera voice intoning: "Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology." Austin was given a bionic arm and legs and an artificial zoom-lens eye.
The C4 programme's presenter is Dr Bertolt Meyer, a social psychologist from Switzerland who himself has a 30,000-pound bionic limb after being born without a left hand.
The bionic man is being built from 1,000,000 dollars of limbs and organs by leading UK roboticists Richard Walker and Matthew Godden.
There is the artificial eye, which consists of a microchip implanted into the retina that receives images captured by a camera housed on the patient's glasses. It sends electrical pulses that are translated by the brain into shapes and patterns.
Professor Robert MacLaren, from Oxford University, said: "We are hoping patients who are completely blind will be able to see basic shapes and objects."
Scientists are hoping prosthetic replacements for failing hearts, kidneys, pancreas and spleens could one day solve the worldwide shortage of donor organs.
The research is published in Radio Times.
First Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 16:00