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Terminally-ill scientist completes transformation into 'world's first full cyborg'

Mirror logo Mirror 14/11/2019 Tom Bevan & Shivali Best
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A terminally-ill British scientist dying from a muscle wasting disease says has fully completed his transition into the world's first full cyborg - called Peter 2.0.

Dr Peter Scott-Morgan, 61, decided to challenge what it meant to be human when he refused to accept his fate following a diagnosis of motor neurone disease in 2017.

He said he wanted to push the boundaries of what science can achieve so decided to extend his life and become fully robotic .

And this week the world-renowned roboticist returned to his home in Torquay, Devon, after 24 days in Intensive Care, with all medical procedures now complete and able to begin his re-booted life.

But the evolution of his machine-like existence doesn't end there - and he joked he had more upgrades scheduled than Microsoft.

The world-renowned roboticist has had to undergo a series of incredibly complex and risky operations during his journey.

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This has included developing a remarkably life-like avatar of his face before he lost any muscle.

The avatar is designed to respond using artificially intelligent body language and he has also explored eye-tracking technology to enable him to control multiple computers using only his eyes.

And the final procedure in his robot transition saw him successfully trade his voice for potentially decades of life.

He underwent a laryngectomy, meaning he lost his physical voice, but in doing so, he will avoid the added danger of saliva potentially entering his lungs, due to his condition.

Dr Scott-Morgan had previously labelled this treatment as the end of Peter 1.0 and the start of Peter 2.0.

a person holding a microphone: Dr Peter Scott-Morgan © @DrScottMorgan /Twitter Dr Peter Scott-Morgan

He confirmed the news on social media this week alongside a picture and a message that "Peter 2.0 is now online."

He wrote: "Just home from 24 days in Intensive Care. All medical procedures now complete and a huge success. My mini-ventilator keeping me breathing is a LOT quieter than Darth Vader’s.

"All speech is synthetic but at last sounds like me again. Long research road ahead but in great spirits."

It was Peter's first message to his legion of followers since he signed off last month what he described as his "last post as Peter 1.0."

He confirmed that on October 10 he would be trading his voice for "potentially decades of life" as he completed the final medical procedure for his transition in the same month he was told that statistically he would be dead.

He added: "I'm not dying, I'm transforming. Oh, how I love science."

Dr Scott-Morgan, of Torquay, Devon, has throughout his career been granted 'unparalleled confidential access' to government organisations, banks and major corporations.

He has been using this scientific expertise to work with cutting-edge technology experts to become Peter 2.0.

a person sitting on a bed: Dr Peter Scott-Morgan (right) with his husband Francis © @DrScottMorgan /Twitter Dr Peter Scott-Morgan (right) with his husband Francis

Speaking of his transition on his website, he said: "When I say ‘Peter 2.0’, I mean ‘a Cyborg’.

"And when I say ‘Cyborg’, I don’t just mean any old cyborg, you understand, but by far the most advanced human cybernetic organism ever created in 13.8 billion years.

"I’m scheduled to become the world’s very first full Cyborg. Almost everything about me is going to be irreversibly changed – body and brain.

"It goes without saying that all my physical interaction with the world will become robotic. And naturally, my existing five senses are going to be enhanced. But far more importantly, part of my brain, and all of my external persona, will soon be electronic – totally synthetic.

"From then on, I’ll be part hardware/part wetware, part digital/part analogue. And it won’t stop there; I’ve got more upgrades in progress than Microsoft. Mine isn’t just a version change. It’s a metamorphosis."

The scientist has also been exploring eye-tracking technology, to enable him to control multiple computers using just his eyes.

Among other things, this would mean he could control his own electronic bed and a hoist to help him move.

a pile of luggage sitting on top of a suitcase: Dr Peter Scott-Morgan © @DrScottMorgan/Twitter Dr Peter Scott-Morgan

This eye-tracking technology, means that he could no longer wear contact lenses, and so he has undergone laser eye surgery to enable him to have perfect vision at 70cm- the distance from his computer screen.

The scientist also has a remarkable top-end wheelchair, which he said on Twitter is 'brilliantly engineered' and allows him to stand, lie flat and go fast.

He has undergone further pioneering surgery in what he believes to be the first ever operation of its kind, to insert a feeding tube directly into his stomach, a catheter directly into his bladder and a colostomy bag directly onto his colon.

These procedures will help him to deal with any potential feeding and toileting problems, helping him to maintain his independence.

However, he stressed online that this is an incredibly risky procedure for somebody with MND.

Despite the risks of operations and being terminally ill, Dr Scott-Morgan says he is not interested in how to survive his condition, he intends to 'thrive.'

He remains positive and often, humorous, seeing his situation as a chance to truly embrace scientific capabilities.

a person posing for the camera: He created a remarkably life-like avatar of his face before he lost any muscle © Embody Digital/Youtube He created a remarkably life-like avatar of his face before he lost any muscle

In fact, The Scott-Morgan Foundation which he set up with his husband, Francis, seeks to use artificial intelligence, robotics and other high-technology systems to transform the lives of those 'restricted by age, ill-health, disability, or other physical or mental disadvantage."

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 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.

"Thanks to HiTech – I will talk again. I will convey Emotion and Personality. And I’ll reach out and touch the people I love. And I will not be the only one.

"Over time, more and more with MND, with extreme disability, with old age, with a passion simply to break free from their physical straight-jacket, will choose to stand beside me.

"And we will all stand tall. And we will stand proud. And we will stand unbowed. And we will keep standing, year after year after year after year after year…Because we refuse simply to ‘Stay Alive’. We choose to thrive."

Dr Scott-Morgan will be the subject of a Channel 4 documentary in airing 2020, by Sugar Films.

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