Kevin Warwick, the professor of cybernetics at Reading University was labelled ‘Captain Cyborg’ by the press in 1998 after he had a simple microchip implanted in his arm which triggered his office doors to open and lights to come on.
This was the first in a series of experiments that led to Kevin and his wife having other, more complex, implants that were connected to the nerves in their arms. A robot arm in a different institution on the other side of the world to Kevin could follow his movements and he could ‘feel’ if force was applied to that arm. With his wife, he set up the first purely electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans.
Kevin Warwick was born in 1954 in Coventry, UK. In 1970 he left school to join British Telecom, at the age of 16 but returned to study at Aston University, followed by a PhD and a research post at Imperial College, London. He worked at Oxford, Newcastle and Warwick universities before being made a Professor at Reading, at the age of 33.
Since then his work has become famous worldwide. In 2000 Kevin was invited to give the annual Royal Institution Christmas lectures for young people. The series of five lectures was entitled "The Rise of the Robots"
People have questioned Kevin’s work as humanists debate exactly what it is to be human and how electronic replacements or enhancements affect this. See I Robot? for more details.