PART 8: MORE MACHINE THAN MAN - THE BIONIC SIX'S BIONICS
By Alex Wiggan (and Ryan the work experience lad)
Welcome once again, we’re still in America only we’ve left Louisiana behind and we’re now in California, the home of the bionic Bennett family, better known to the world as The Bionic Six!Not surprisingly it’s the science of bionics that has Ryan asking the burning questions, so I’d best get a move on and give him some answers.
Here we go...
OK, SO TELL ME... WHAT ARE BIONICS EXACTLY?
Bionics basically refers to the application of technological enhancements to biological matter.
In simple terms Ryan, bionics is when you mix nature with technology. First coined by Jack E. Steele (there's some irony there) the term bionics originates from the Greek word 'life like' and in medical terms (which is what we're talking about here), bionics is the replacement of body parts with mechanical... bits.
WHO DO BIONICS BELONG TO?
Bionic enhancement has been used on numerous patients across the globe to improve a problematic body part or two, but on this occasion bionics belong to the super heroic Bennett family, who appeared on animated TV show The Bionic Six, from 1987 – 1989.The Bennett’s were an ordinary family given superpowers via bionic enhancement, following a skiing accident that involved alien radiation!Left in a coma, the application of bionics was the family’s only chance for survival and once revived they became a force for good, fighting against the forces of evil, led by the maniacal Doctor Scarab.
WHAT DID BIONICS DO FOR THE SIX MEMBERS OF THE BENNETT FAMILY (APART FROM GIVING THEM THE CATCHY NAME THE BIONIC SIX)?
If you hadn’t caught on, there were six members in the bionic Bennett family:Jack (Bionic-1), Helen (Mother-1), Eric (Sport-1), Meg (Rock-1), J.D (IQ) and Bunji (Karate-1) and the addition of bionics gave them abilities that ranged from X-ray vision, telepathy and super speed to super strength and... enhanced martial arts?!?
WHAT WOULD BIONICS DO FOR ME?
Bionic implants can mimic and improve the functions of the original organs and limbs that they replace and so technically they can vastly improve on what a person had before.The technology might not be as sophisticated as science-fiction would have you believe, but it’s real and in theory it’s all there.
SO I COULD BECOME BIONIC JUST LIKE THE BIONIC SIX?
Not exactly like the Bionic Six, no, but not far off.Bionic Six leader, Bionic-1, had enhanced hearing, something that a real life cochlear implant could help you out with.Obviously cochlear implants are designed for people who suffer from little or no hearing, but they do in fact help those who couldn’t otherwise pick up sound regain the ability to hear and so if that’s not enhancement then I don’t know what is!Other bionic replacements include retinal implants and artificial hearts and in 2007 Scottish company Touch Bionics made the first commercially available bionic hand; it was dubbed the ‘i-Limb Hand’ and surely it’s the first step on the road to bionic martial arts?Although bionic technology is not at the level that The Bionic Six would have had you believe it is able to do many wonderful things and at least it’s a starting point to increasing a person’s abilities.Currently Ryan you don’t require bionic enhancements, but should the need arise feel pleased that it could help improve your life.
And now you know.
SUPER SCIENCE EQUATION: Bionics + Ryan = A bionic Ryan
Well it’s time to go, we’ve got a meeting with Governor Schwarzenegger in just a few short hours (we want to convince him to make a ‘King Conan’ film) and before we meet Arnie I need to go and buy Ryan some smarter clothes (apparently it’s the least I can do as I don’t pay him any wages).