Home / Past Events / CybersalonMCR – The Age of Human Enhancement
It takes many hands to make a Bebionic hand.

CybersalonMCR – The Age of Human Enhancement

Free tickets available at Eventbrite!

Wednesday, 29th October 2014, 6.30pm at The Shed, Digital Innovation, John Dalton West, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5GD

Nearly 3,000 US and UK soldiers returned from the Afghan and Iraqi wars with amputated limbs. The science has responded to that unprecedented demand with rapid advancement in the creation of sophisticated prosthetics – like the Bebionic hand – some of which are surpassing the performance of the average human body.

In addition, new developments in wearable computing are inevitably pushing the human species to consider enhancing the body – not just as a therapy to minimise disability, but as a way of extending basic human abilities beyond the limits of our unaided biology. The 21st century is seeing humans stealing past the notion that the body we were born with is the one we will be using during our lifetime. We are beginning to see implants and enhancements which could provide “super-human” hearing, sight, smell and speed.

However, our taboos remain strong and the societal acceptance of Human Enhancement is ambivalent. While positive in embracing areas such as para sports, we seem much more reticent with technological enhancement to able bodies. Is self-cyborgisation to be frowned upon or is it just helping to increase the scale of manufacturing and thus allowing better science for the therapy when needed? Is the use of new technology to “upgrade the human form” an ethically legitimate activity; or should we limit cyborg technology for application only in the treatment of disease and disability?

With Nigel Ackland, a representative from Help for Heroes, Dr. Timothy Jung and Frank Swain we will explore the future of ‘The Age of Human Enhancement’.


Nigel Ackland


Pioneering User of the Bebionic 3 Artificial Hand

As a pioneering user of the Bebionic 3 artificial hand Nigel enthuses, “Having a Bebionic hand has made me feel human again. The psychological benefits of wearing this are immense.”  “ I feel “disabled” without it”. The former precious metal smelter‘s life has now taken a very different direction. “I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to share my experience and try to encourage the mass production of hi tech prosthetics so that millions of other amputees can live the lives that most of us take for granted.” ”Right now, around the world  over 20 million Amputees have NO access to ANY sort of prosthetics, and the number grows every day”.

The Bebionic hand has had a great impact on his life: “People stop me every day to ask about it”.  “How my hand makes other people feel when they see it appears to be just as – if not more – important as how it makes me feel when I wear it”. “It’s good to shake hands again, it’s what humans do”. “No one ever asked to shake my Hook”

Dr. Timothy Jung

Director of Creative Augmented Realities Hub, Hollings Faculty, Manchester Metropolitan University

Director of Creative Augmented Realities Hub, Hollings Faculty, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr. Timothy Jung is a director of Creative Augmented Realities Hub in the department of Food and Tourism Management at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is a member of MMU’s Digital Innovation Group and he is a director of AquaTravellers, social enterprise aims to raise funds for WaterAid using an affiliate marketing system focusing on travel and tourism.

He has been involved a number of funded research projects at national and international level in the area of ICTs in the tourism and hospitality industry. His current research focuses on the application of ICTs with particular interest in the social media networks, mobile marketing, Augmented Reality (AR) in cultural heritage tourism as well as Cittaslow and Slow Food Movement. He is currently involved in Dublin Augmented Reality (AR) Urban Heritage Tourism Project in collaboration with Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and Dublin City Council (DCC). From January 2014, he started pioneering Google Glass AR (Augmented Reality) Tourism Project in collaboration with Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester City Council, Marketing Manchester, Manchester, MIRIAD and 33lab.

In 2013, he was awarded as one of winners of the ‘IFITT (International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism) Journal Paper of the Year Award’ at the ENTER 2013 Conference held in Innsbruck, Austria. Recent conference papers include “Google Glass Creative Tourism Experience: A Case Study of Manchester Art Gallery’, ‘Augmented Reality: Moderating Effect of Personal Innovativeness’ and ‘A Tourist Experience Model for Augmented Reality Applications in the Urban Heritage Context’.

Professor Andy Miah


Chair in Science Communication & Digital Media, School of Environment & Life Sciences, University of Salford

Professor Andy Miah, PhD , is Chair in Science Communication & Digital Media, in the School of Environment & Life Sciences, University of Salford, Manchester. He is also Global Director for the Centre for Policy and Emerging Technologies, Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, USA and Fellow at FACT, the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, UK. He is author of ‘Genetically Modified Athletes’ (2004 Routledge) and co-author with Dr Emma Rich of ‘The Medicalization of Cyberspace’ (2008, Routledge),  Editor of ‘Human Futures: Art in an Age of Uncertainty’ (2008, Liverpool University Press and FACT) and co-author with Dr Beatriz Garcia of ‘The Olympics’ (2012, Routledge). Professor Miah’s research discusses the intersections of art, ethics, technology and culture and he has published broadly in areas of emerging technologies, particularly related to human enhancement. Professor Miah has published over 150 academic articles in refereed journals, books, magazines, and national media press on the subjects of cyberculture, medicine, technology, and sport. He has also given over 100 major conference presentations and he is often invited to speak about philosophical and ethical issues concerning technology in society. Professor Miah regularly interviews for a range of major media companies, which have included BBC’s Newsnight and Start the Week with Andrew Marr, ABC’s’ The 7:30 Review and CBC’s The Hour. He often publishes essays for media outlets, which have included the Huffington Post, Wired, Washington Post, The Guardian, and the Times. He is currently part of a European Commission project called Digital Futures 2050 and has previously been involved with a number of international projects on technological convergence and ethics.

Frank Swain


Science Writer, Hacking his Hearing (credit: Ade Okelarin)

Frank Swain writes and talks about science.

He is Communities Editor at New Scientist, and has written for the Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Wired, New Scientist, BBC Focus, BBC Future, Mosaic, Slate, Microbiologist, Stylist, Salon, IET, Rhizome, and Plastic Rhino among others. He is the creator of Futures Exchange on Medium and SciencePunk at National Geographic’s ScienceBlogs portal.

His broadcast work includes developing and presenting programs for BBC Radio 4 and Bravo, as well as advising for other networks. He’s appeared on BBC Radios 5Live, 4, Oxford and Three Counties; and Newstalk.ie as well as More4 News, to discuss science topics.

Frank Swain started losing his hearing in his twenties. After being fitted with hearing aids, he realised he could hack his hearing aids to hear more than just sound. Working with sound artist Daniel Jones, he can now hear the electromagnetic fields thrown out by WiFi routers, giving him a sense of the invisible data infrastructures that surround us.

Eva Pascoe – Chair


Cybersalon Co-Founder, Head of Retail Futures for the Retail Practice

Eva came to the UK from Poland in 1986 to study psychology and the ergonomics of human computer interaction at London University. She co-founded the world’s first Internet café, Cyberia Café, in 1994 and pioneered the early e-payment and e-commerce fashion solutions in the UK for Topshop (Arcadia PLC). She is currently head of Retail Futures for the Retail Practice – a multichannel retail and technology consultancy in the UK and Europe. She also co-founded the digital think tank Cybersalon and is a supporter of Wikimania UK 2014.

Further Reading

House A. (2014) ‘The Real Cyborgs.’ The Telegraph. [Online] 20th October. s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/projects/the-future-is-android/index.html?utm_content=buffercc366&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Newman J. (2014) ‘To Siri, With Love.’ The New York Times. [Online] 17th October. http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/fashion/how-apples-siri-became-one-autistic-boys-bff.html?smid=tw-nytimes&_r=3&referrer

Dvorsky G. (2014) ‘What If You Awoke One Morning Transformed Into A Robot?’ io9.com [Online] http://io9.com/what-if-you-awoke-one-morning-transformed-into-a-robot-1644248717

Cook, J. (2014) ‘Elon Musk: Robots Could Delete Humans Like Spam.’ Business Insider. [Online] 9th October. http://www.inc.com/business-insider/elon-musk-robots-delete-humans-like-spam.html?cid=sf01001

About Cybersalon Manchester

Cybersalon Manchester is a new regular event series that relocates the tried and tested Cybersalon format for a Manchester audience. It extends the Cybersalon network – exploring similar themes; re-running select events and sharing speakers from the established London series while bringing a uniquely Mancunian perspective to Cybersalon’s outlook and agenda. This event, part of the programme for the Manchester Science Festival 2014, revisits the Human 2.0 Cybersalon held in London in February 2014, reconvening some of the original panelists and adding new perspectives. This is also an opportunity to find out what Cybersalon is all about, engage with the network, express your interest and get involved. Cybersalon Manchester is supported by the Media Department, Manchester School of Art and Digital Innovation, MMU.

 Manchester Science Festival

This event is part of Manchester Science Festival – a burst of creation, experimentation and wonder.



Manchester Science Festival is proudly produced by the Museum of Science & Industry and supported by Siemens.


About cybersalon


  1. please will you send me details of your future meetings, in manchester. thanks

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