A scientist who transformed himself into the world’s first cyborg due to a muscle-relaxing disease says his quality of life is “exceptional.”
Dr. Peter Scott-Morgan, 62, of Torquay, Devon, decided to challenge what it meant to be human when he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in 2017, using robotics to extend his life.
Peter, who appeared on This Morning today with his partner Francis, 65, said that after making the full transition to ‘part human, part machine’ in November 2019, he ‘not only survives, but thrives’.
He said he has always believed he could change “ anything that opportunity ” with knowledge and technology after being inspired as a child by sci-fi shows Doctor Who and Star Trek.
Dr. Peter Scott-Morgan, 62, of Torquay, Devon transformed himself into the world’s first cyborg due to a diagnosis of muscle-relaxing disease five years ago
Peter, who appeared on This Morning today with partner Francis, 65, said that after the full transition to ‘part human, part machine’ in 2019, his quality of life is ‘exceptional’.
“Basically, as a cyborg in transition, my overall quality of life is exceptional,” he said. ‘I have love, I have fun, I have hope, I have dreams and I have a goal and did I mention, I am still alive.
“Really alive, not just one of the living dead, not just alive, in bloom. So if you ask the best of the past four years, not being dead is up there.
Turning to his 45-year-old partner Francis, he added, “But the best part, of course, is that he’s sitting next to me.”
The world-renowned roboticist has had to undergo a series of incredibly complex and risky operations during his journey.
World-renowned roboticist explored the use of eye-tracking technology to enable him to control multiple computers using just his eyes
He has created a remarkably lifelike avatar designed to respond with artificially intelligent body language (left)
This involved developing a remarkably lifelike avatar before losing one of the muscles in his face used to create expressions. The avatar is designed to respond using artificially intelligent body language.
Dr. Scott-Morgan has also explored the use of eye-tracking technology to enable him to control multiple computers using just his eyes.
And the final procedure in his robotic transition saw him successfully trade his voice for potentially decades of life.
He underwent a laryngectomy, which means he lost his physical voice, but doing so will avoid the added danger of saliva potentially entering his lungs due to his condition.
Peter, pictured with Francis, said he always believed he could change “ anything, whatever the opportunity ” with knowledge and technology after being inspired as a child by sci-fi shows Doctor Who and Star Trek
Peter, pictured with Francis in 2005, says the “best thing” about his life is his 45-year-old partner Francis
What procedures did Peter have during his robot transition?
After being diagnosed with motor neuron disease in 2017, Peter first had to undergo three surgeries while he was still relatively healthy.
The procedures, which could all be done at once, were a gastrostomy, a cystostomy and a colostomy. These surgeries, which he called a tripleostomy, allowed tubes to be inserted directly into his stomach, bladder, and colon for his eating and toilet needs.
Then Peter had his voice cloned by training a computer to sound like him. This happened in a five-hour session during which he was given thousands of sentences to record. This meant that when he could no longer speak, an AI system listens and gives him sentences, which he chooses with eye-tracking technology.
Peter also underwent laser eye surgery to give himself perfect computer use and started using a high-quality wheelchair, which allowed him to move, stand and lie flat quickly.
He also built an avatar that looked just like him, which he could use when his facial muscles stopped working. Peter had to draw a series of facial expressions on a huge motion capture stage and again in a photo booth with over 50 cameras to create his avatar.
His last procedure was a laryngectomy, in which the larynx (voice box) is removed and the airway is separated from the mouth, nose, and esophagus.
Peter can never speak again without a synthesizer but the operation prevents saliva or food from entering his windpipe and causing it fatal pneumonia.
Peter previously labeled this treatment as the end of Peter 1.0 and the beginning of Peter 2.0.
Dr. Scott-Morgan had previously labeled this treatment as the end of Peter 1.0 and the beginning of Peter 2.0.
Francis explained, ‘Peter soon found that the thing with the motor neuron disease is more of a mechanical and plumbing problem, if you will, because the motor neuron disease itself isn’t really killing you, all of your internal organs stay perfectly fine, they all function.
What does kill you in the end is the fact that your muscles can’t work your lungs, you don’t have that gas exchange in your lungs and your oxygen levels drop and you die because of it.
“Peter quickly realized that if you can solve some of these technical problems and keep your lungs going, you actually have a near normal life expectancy, even if you are locked up.”
Peter says that, according to Pinewood Studios creating his next avatar, his figure will ultimately indistinguishable from a real person.
The scientist said he was never stopped believing that technology was his way out after his diagnosis, adding that he wants to “ completely rewrite the future of disability. ”
For a simple reason, all of my early science education games from Doctor Who and Star Trek.
“Every week I learned that if you are smart enough and brave enough and have access to enough super cool technology, you can change anything he expects.”
He continued, “ Francis and I became so passionate about this that we created a charity organization called the Scott-Morgan Foundation a year ago to focus on a hugely ambitious research program spanning decades.
“ We have been incredibly lucky to be able to attract some of the world’s best brains to participate, our mission is to completely rewrite the future of disability. ‘