The concept of the film “RoboCop” is iconic, but how close are we to actually making it a reality? The movie makes it seem like it could happen in the near future, but the reality is that it will probably be a century or more until we have the technology to actually create a cyborg crime fighter.
Arguably, the biggest factor holding up development of a real-life Robocop is battery technology. Think about the most advanced battery on the market right now; the battery in the Tesla Model S can only propel the car 300 miles, and it weighs in at a staggering 1,300 pounds. Unless a real-life Robocop was plugging in to a charging source every hour, it seems that battery technology will need to take a giant leap forward before we can dream of cyborg police officers patrolling the streets.
Other Cyborg Technology
While the battery problem certainly seems like an issue that won’t be resolved anytime soon, other aspects of cyborg tech are actually much closer to being realized. For example, the prosthetic field has been making leaps and bounds in recent years. There are even artificial limbs that have a sense of touch, something that was pure science fiction not so long ago.
There have also been leaps forward in the technology of brain-interfacing. Researchers are getting closer every day to getting the brain to be able to link up with prosthetics to effectively control them, and that technology will almost certainly be ready well before the battery technology is ready for prime time.
One thing to keep in mind is that a human brain would not be able to operate the robotic suit alone. It would take a full brain and spinal cord to be able to achieve a fully-functional cyborg. Any real-life Robocop would have to be more than a human head placed in a robotic suit.
While we are perhaps a century away from developing a real-life Robocop, we are much further away from developing something like the ED-209 robot in the film. Artificial intelligence is a long way away, and we will most likely see cyborgs as peace officers well before we see robot peace officers.