NIH Can Rebuild Him, Launches Bionic Man Tool

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering recently launched the “NIBIB Bionic Man,” an interactive Web tool that allows students and the public to learn about cutting-edge research in biotechnology.

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering's interactive Web tool, the “NIBIB Bionic Man.”
The bionic man features 14 technologies currently being developed by NIBIB-supported researchers. Examples include a powered prosthetic leg that helps users achieve a more natural gait, a wireless brain-computer interface that lets people with paralyzed legs and arms control computer devices or robotic limbs using only their thoughts, and a micro-patch that delivers vaccines painlessly and doesn’t need refrigeration.

In addition to enticing new visitors to the NIBIB website, the bionic man serves as an aggregator of existing Web content. For example, many of the short explanations that accompany each technology contain a link to either an NIBIB Science Highlight or press release so that readers can learn about these technologies in greater depth. In the first month since the launch of the bionic man, we saw significant increases in traffic to this older content.

Another goal for the bionic man is to inspire the next generation of bioengineers. In this regard, we have been promoting the bionic man to high school science teachers for use in their classrooms. The bionic man currently lives on the NIBIB Science Education page.

Margot Lawton Kern is a Science Writer, at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institutes of Health.