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Mad Scientists Who Tested On Themselves

Not all mad scientists used unwilling animals and humans as their test subjects. Some of the more modern researchers tested their theories out on themselves. In this article, you will meet Kevin Warwick, who has a fascination regarding robots and humans, and John Lilly, who wanted to know how the brain would react to being cut off to stimuli.

Kevin Warwick

A British scientist and professor of cybernetics named Kevin Warwick had such a fascination for robots that he actively pursued becoming the first man ever to transform into a cyborg. For example, in 1998, Warwick had a simple RFID transmitter implanted beneath his skin that could control doors, lights, heaters, and other computer-controlled devices when he was in close range. The goal of the experiment was to test how far the body would accept foreign materials in the body, as well as how easy it would be to receive a meaningful signal from the chip that was implanted.

Warwick’s nervous system was then outfitted with a more complicated neural interface in 2002. This time, the experiment actually tapped into his nervous signals. His test was a success and the signal that was produced from his efforts was good enough to make a robot arm mimic the actions of Warwick’s own arm.

Warwick didn’t stop by experimenting on his own body, he involved his wife. This same neurological experiment was extended, where a simpler implant was placed into his wife. Warwick wished to create a form of telepathy or empathy that relied on the Internet to communicate with signals from a distance. The experiment was a success and became the first purely electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans.

To date, Warwick is still experimenting with robotics.

John Lilly

Another scientist who enjoyed testing their theories on themselves was John Lilly, who wanted to know what would occur if the brain was cut off from all external stimuli. Lilly constructed the first sensory deprivation tank in 1954. For hours, the scientist would float in warm water surrounded by complete darkness and silence. After awhile, Lilly started to experience vivid fantasies that he later reported were too personal to share with the public.

Lilly also recruited test subjects for his experiment and learned that they too experienced similar hallucinations that were hard to place in scientific terms. Because of this, his research was not widely accepted. Lilly finally abandoned his scientific research and founded a firm called Samadhi Tanks, which manufactured tanks for use at home. However, the work he conducted did not go completely unnoticed. His research was used as the model for the film “Altered States” in 1980. He spent his later years as a New Age guru until his death in 2001.