He’s Alive!

This blog post originally debuted in May 2014. With a new, prominent feature on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website, we figured hey, why not take a walk down memory lane? Haven’t met the Bionic Man yet? Let us introduce you.


Last week the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) launched the “Bionic Man,” an interactive, explorable 3D model that illustrates cutting-edge research in the field of bioengineering.

We got excited about this project the moment we read the first line of the statement of work:

Bioengineering research supported by NIBIB is leading to advances that were previously known only in science fiction.

It’s true. The Bionic Man includes a therapy for cartilage regeneration (think Wolverine from X-men!). And that’s not all, there’s also a device that will let you control robots with your thoughts!

hotspot-zones-2-01So how did this all come to be? Well, NIBIB maintained disparate existing articles on multiple fronts of research but needed a way to visualize them. And not only did it need to be visual, but the end result also needed to engage the general public and inspire the next generation of biomedical engineers. Most medical illustration in the space felt cold and clinical. Through several rounds of 3D and 2D illustration we landed on a style the felt scientifically accurate, yet fully human and approachable with a slightly sketchy feel.

Our team had a blast working on something as cutting edge as this. Several of the technologies started showing up in the news. First, I read about a similar development about glucose sensing contacts. Then, there was a TED Talk about the importance of the micro needle patch.

UPDATE: The projects mentioned above are similar technology but separate projects (not funded by NIH).

One of the goals of this project is to try and inspire the next generation of Biomedical Engineers. The project certainly inspired us!

Below I’ve listed few of my favorite elements. Be sure to check out the Bionic Man over at NIBIB!BioMan_Spots-01 copy

  • Cartilage Regeneration + Wireless Brain-Computer Interface
  • Robotic Leg Prosthesis – A prosthetic ankle and knee that functions like a real one.
  • Artificial Kidney – Imagine how many lives could be saved if we could circumvent kidney failure!
  • Microneedle Patch – I hate needles, this is game changing for so many reasons.
  • Synthetic Body Glue – A biomimicry inspired version of Crazy Glue.
  • Glucose-Sensing Contacts – Wearable tech. This is the future.