BBC Radio 4

A series of five programmes that explores whether scientists could do better than Nature (or God). Len Fisher wonders how the body would work if we had a go at remaking ourselves.

The Skin We’re In

6 January 2006

Sunburn, rashes, cuts, spots, chafing, wrinkles – our skin brings us no end of problems – vulnerable to damage, loosening as we age. What if instead of being rough and red or pale and pimply, our skin could be as vibrant as a bird’s plumage or a lizard’s scales? Contemplating his own skin in a theatre dressing room, Len is joined by consultant dermatologist David de Berker and biomimeticist Julian Vincent, to wonder what it would be like to shed our skin for something completely different.

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Banish the Aches

5 January 2006

Knee pain is a common complaint, especially among runners such as Len Fisher, who has had two operations to correct the wear in his knees. Who wouldn’t want to banish the pains of creaky joints and bones, far better to have something which came with a lifetime guarantee. Len, and Jeff Odell join forces with anatomist Mo Sharif, to work out whether we could design more robust joints, or a better skeleton altogether?

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Having the Guts

4 January 2006

The human digestive system is a designer’s nightmare, with indigestion, reflux, stomach-aches, constipation and involuntary leakage among its many problems. Len visits the University of the West of England, to meet a man who has designed a robot – Eco-bot, with a digestive system of its own.

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Moving Along

3 January 2006

Getting around would be so much easier with wheels or springs. With the help of a physicist and a toymaker, Len gives rolling and hopping a try.

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A Spare Pair of Arms and Eyes in the Back of my Head

2 January 2006

Wouldn’t it be great to have an extra limb or to see behind you? Len heads to the zoo to pick up some tips from the animal kingdom.

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