According to Webster's, a cyborg is "a person whose body contains mechanical or electrical devices and whose abilities are greater than the abilities of normal humans." And they already exist among us. Take Steve Mann, for example. This University of Toronto professor has been wearing tech since the 1980s, most recently sporting headwear (that requires tools to remove from his head) that's designed to capture photos and videos in real-time.
Mann got us thinking about famous cyborgs onscreen, in books and in real life. Although we may not be quite on their level yet, we could be closer than you think.
Born Anakin Skywalker, this cyborg fell to the dark side of the force and became the villain of the original Star Wars trilogy. During an epic battle between Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end of "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," Kenobi severs Vader's legs and remaining arm and the villain falls near lava and catches fire. Emperor Palpatine rescues Darth Vader and replaces his limbs with cybernetic limbs.
The main character in the 1989 sci-fi film, RoboCop is constructed from police officer Alex Murphy in near-future Detroit. In order to curb crime, the government decides to integrate robots into the police force. After Murphy is murdered, the government takes his body to reconstruct it and bring him back to life as a part-robot, part-human hybrid. The first RoboCop in the city's effort, Murphy fights crime and remembers glimpses of his human life, but keeps it concealed.
The protagonist in the novel Cyborg and subsequent '70s TV series "The Six Million Dollar Man," Steve Austin is severely injured in a crash. In order to restore Austin's body, he receives $6 million worth of operations and is given a bionic eye, arm and legs that boost his vision, strength and speed, making him a super-human government agent.
A former tennis star and the girlfriend of "The Six Million Dollar Man's" Steve Austin, Jaime Sommers also becomes a cyborg. Sommers' legs and arm are crushed in a skydiving accident, and Austin convinces the government to do a bionic operation to restore her to health. Her arm, legs and ear are replaced, and Sommers consequently gains enhanced powers. After Sommers' body rejects the bionic implants, she dies, but is brought back to life by the government and thereafter used as an agent on select missions.
This South African is known as the Blade Runner and made it to the semi-finals in the 400 metres sprint in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Pretty impressive, but even more impressive is that he did this with artificial legs. As a baby, Pistorius was diagnosed with fibular hemimila, and both his legs were amputated between the knees and the ankles. With his artificial legs, Pistorius was deemed eligible to compete in the 2008 Games, but didn't make the South African team. He became the first double leg amputee to compete in the Olympics at this year's Games.
Otherwise known as Iron Man, Tony Stark is a billionaire engineer-turned-superhero in the Marvel comic books. After sustaining a chest injury during a kidnapping, Stark invents a powerful body suit to save his own life. He integrates military weapons into his suit to help him fight crime later as Iron Man. His signature weapons within the suit include repulsor rays, a uni-beam projector in his chest, pulse bolts, an electromagnetic pulse generator and a defensive energy shield.
This cyborg is the protagonist of the animated TV series of the '80s by the same name. A clumsy, simple-minded detective, Inspector Gadget has various bionic gadgets built into his body. With the help of his genius niece Penny and their intelligent dog Brain, Inspector Gadget is able to solve cases and thwart the plots of his arch-nemesis Dr. Claw. By saying, "Go-Go-Gadget," he can summon any number of gadgets that will help him fight crime.
Although played by everyone's least favorite actor Keanu Reeves, Neo is one groovy cyborg with implants in his neck and back. A computer programmer and hacker who goes by the pseudonym Neo, Thomas Anderson learns about The Matrix and attempts to find Morpheus, a man who he thinks can help him understand that the world he lives in is a virtual reality. Neo is captured by the Agents, who implant an electronic bug in his Matrix-simulated body to track is every move.
Born as human Annika Hansen, this "Star Trek: Voyager" character is named Seven of Nine after the Borg assimilate her and make her a cybernetic being. She leaves Borg space after 18 years on the Voyager with 82 percent of her cybernetic implants are removed, but she can still sense when the Borg are near. Similar to a robot or machine, Seven of Nine does not display emotion.
This cyborg is the protagonist of the 1995 sci-fi action film of the same name. Keanu Reeves goes two-for-two by playing a cyborg, yet again, in the future who has a brain implant designed to store information. Mnemonic's job is to carry information deemed too dangerous to put on the Net. Sent on a mission to recover information from scientists, Mnemonic takes on more data, 70GB, than his storage capacity can hold, and ends up with two groups who seek the information on his trail.