The Soft Machine - Design in the Cyborg Age

Marie O'Mahony

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University October 22, 1999

The term cyborg was coined by Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline in 1960 to refer to an enhanced man machine hybrid who could survive in extra-terrestrial environments. Technology and thinking have moved a long way since the first cyborg (a white rat) and, since it has started to become part of our design and popular culture, it is time to assess the implications of what is becoming the cyborg age.

This slide presentation will move between such diverse disciplines as Art, Medicine, Science Fiction, Design and Science. This juxtaposition of images and ideas from very different areas reflects the current trend towards closer links between Art and Science.

Marie O'Mahony is an independent consultant specialising in textiles and technology based in London. She has worked for companies and institutions advising on projects, preparing reports and organising workshops, symposiums and exhibitions. Clients include The Netherlands Design Institute, Interval Research Corporation, Ove Arup and Partners, Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Interstoff at Messe Frankfurt and Zaha M Hadid. She is co-author of TechnoTextiles and currently researching a book to be titled The Soft Machine - Design in the Cyborg Age for publication in Spring 2001.


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