back to article Captain Cyborg sidekick implants virus-infected chip

A second transhumanist RFID-chipping nut has emerged from the academic community at the University of Reading. Professor Kevin Warwick became famous years ago after claiming he was on the way towards becoming a cyborg after he implanted a simple RFID chip in his arm, which allowed sensors to register his presence and perform …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    Proof-reading required, Jeezus....

  2. fLaMePrOoF

    My constructive input...

    What a wanker.

  3. Captain Underpants


    Having first become aware of Warwick through the generally dismissive coverage provided (in an occasionally obsessive manner) by El Reg, I was pleasantly surprised by what I read of the second stage of Project Cyborg. The claims about the first stage were clearly media-oriented guff, but once it got to the stage of actually trying to do something interesting with neural interfaces the whole thing moved into the realm of potentially-useful science.

    Now it sounds like we're back in the "press release for gullible non-technical types" zone again. Shame, that.

  4. Rogerborg

    I recall an interview with an actual AI researcher

    Who described the shenanigans at the University of Reading as an "embarrassing distraction". And yet I can't recall his name, but everyone knows about Captain Cyborg and (now) his Legion of Low Wattage Minions.

    Sad, but it's the first to market that gets the fame and floozies. There are floozies, right?

  5. Anonymous Coward


    "He claimed claim this made him the first human to.."

    "going so far as to suggests..."

    Would somebody please ask John to stop being a lazy oaf and read his articles when he has written them?

  6. Ian Ferguson

    I can do that too!

    I've cybernetically increased my memory tenfold, and have memorised the entire works of Shakespeare!

    (I swallowed a USB key)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I can do that too!

      Nice idea, I pushed mine up my arse.

  7. Geoff Campbell

    Oh bloody hell....

    Don't tell me there's more than one of them out there. I suggest we take off and nuke Reading from orbit, it's the only way to be sure we get them all.

    I mean, come *on*. Who gives these numbnuts jobs? I know universities aren't that picky, but even so.


  8. pctechxp

    Shame he didn't come

    From a university based in Barking

  9. blackworx

    Must remember... check Daily Mail online for their no doubt comprehensive coverage of this shocking news.

  10. pctechxp

    Shame he didn't come

    From a university based in Barking

    Seriously though, people get research money for this?

    Mine's the one with the integrated RFID shield.

    1. Trevor 10

      people get reearch money for this?

      No, people get book deals and paid to appear on TV for this.

    2. martin burns


      I was about to make a snide comment about there being no chance of higher education in Barking, and then remembered that they had the smarts to utterly destroy the BNP last month.

      So consider me contrite and apologetic to the good people of the borough.

  11. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Jesus wept....

    What a complete waste of freaking time and effort!

    I hope this was sponsored by big corps and not UK Gov education money? I will be even more peeved if it was my money being wasted on this tripe! People like Warwick are the boil on the bum of IT and tech research!

  12. Robin Bradshaw

    XKCD saw this coming :)

  13. Graham Marsden


    ... so this guy is effectively saying he's deliberately attempting to spread malware?

    Isn't there a law against that?

  14. Dave Murray Silver badge

    Fixed GC Quote

    "...their research is ... nonsense"

  15. peter 5 Silver badge

    Security experts

    <<Computer security experts were quick to describe the experiment as an absurd exercise in scaremongering.>>

    Adding, "That's our job."

  16. Ministry of Truth

    Avoiding the dreadful consequences...

    Can you imagine the conversation?

    - Prof W - "so, erm, like, you remember how we went out and had a drink, and then, you know..." shuffles feet in the dirt and avoids eye contact, "... well things happened, yeah?"

    - Dell Inspiron Laptop - "We said we wouldn't talk about that, Kevin - it was a mistake and it'll never happen again"

    - Prof W - "Oh yeah, I know, it's just, erm, well...."

    - Dell Inspiron Laptop - "Is there something I should know?"

    - Prof W - "Look, it burned when I cleared my cache, and so I went and got checked and..."

    - Dell Inspiron Laptop - "Oh My Turing, are you trying to tell me...?"

    - Prof W - "Just get yourself checked, ok? I had this virus... I'm really sorry...."

    - Dell Inspiron Laptop - "First you give me Norton and now this?! You said you'd always upgrade me! You promised me Windows 7! Continue, Retry, Abort? ABORT!!!"

    Only in Reading....

  17. Richard Pennington 1

    An Apple a day ...

    A PC virus ... hmm ... it would never have happened if he'd eaten an Apple.

  18. hplasm

    Hmm First the Captain,

    now the Mate; the infection is spreading- expect two more, then four....

    Time to cut the power, I think, whilst we still can!!

  19. SimonP

    I have a cold...

    ..and just sneezed on my computer.

    I hope McAfee's DAT files are up to date, or I'll lose all my documents!

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Careful there!

      "I hope McAfee's DAT files are up to date..........."

      Well they obviously aren't, or you'd have lost your O/S by now.

  20. Elmer Phud


    I've got a bit of metal embedded in my hand- does that make me an android?

    Well, at least the pair of them can get in through the pet-detecting cat flap now.

  21. Linker3000


    I've just written:

    MOV AH, 4FH

    INT 15H

    on my wrist and now every time I pass a PC it reboots.





  22. Shady

    So... order to catch a computer virus I just have to slice my head open with a scalpel, insert a circuit, and then get sewn up, but I will still be immune to the virus because my brain doesn't run windows.

    Oh, FFS, Kevin Warwick has passed the mantle - I wondered why we hadn't heard from that dipstick for a long time - he's probably crashed

    1. Franklin


      You don't even have to slice your hand open with a scalpel. Just copy the malware onto a micro SD card and eat it. Same net effect with a lot less slicing.

      Probably a lot less media coverage, too. If this joker had said "I just put a virus on this RFID tag and ate it," I wonder if he'd be getting any column inches.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tagged human != transhuman

    All these academic nutjobs are doing is making themselves victim of our own technology. Much akin to what governments and corporations are doing, really. That's, in fact, exactly my complaint with all of the RFID applications, and a number of other ventures to boot. Biometrics come to mind.

    What I'd like the transhumanism movement to do is twofold. First, find ways to counter this sort of abuse of technology. Second, find actual, useful ways to merge human and technology, investigate what needs to be done to make that sustainable over the long term and in the face of adversity (starting with power failures), and then help us all do it, should there still be a reason to once we found out the price.

    We invented our box of technological tricks to empower us, not to use it to suppress ourselves. Yet it is us that's making a box of pandora out of it. How truly wonderful these contributions to academia.

  24. bluesxman

    Words fail me

    See title.

  25. Lunatik

    Ahhh, Captain Cyborg...

    ...that's more like it.

    Stories about cyber-numpty Warwick reminds me of the El Reg of yore, when certain senior staffers weren't obsessed about Google/BBC bashing and mundane Apple rumours/press releases (it's difficult to tell which are which nowadays) were an irrelevance, not the basis for half the articles on the site.

  26. Nick Ryan Silver badge


    ...was wondering what had become of Captain Cyborg.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Lest we forget..

    The cruel depths of this man's posturing:

    Public Sector Cuts? Over here Mr Osborne...

  28. Carter Cole

    all i see is a universal key for spys

    like why not write virus code to open any rfid door or cell like that guy said... i mean ton of code and exploits but for reals military put some people on that (id bet you a penny there already are) and make a way cool electronic lockpick

    1. alex 60

      Re: all i see is a universal key for spys

      Oh dear lord do you need to get an education...

  29. nichomach

    Would it be impolite... describe this cretin as a swivel-eyed windowlicker with a side-order of attention whore?

    1. Charlie van Becelaere

      not at all,

      but good on you for being concerned.

    2. Geoff Campbell
      Thumb Up

      Impolite? Yes.

      Inaccurate? Not in this life or the next.


    3. martin burns


      Impolite, yes, but not necessarily inaccurate.

  30. Mike Richards

    Makes you wonder what their interview procedure is like

    Do they concentrate on academic output or just media whoredom?

    Warwick and friends are the embarrassing relatives to Kurzweil's Singularity.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "...Professor Kevin Warwick became famous years ago after claiming he was on the way towards becoming a cyborg after he implanted a simple RFID chip in his arm, which allowed sensors to register his presence and perform simple actions such as opening a door. ..."

    The RFID chip was a proof of concept, you always forget to mention the next bit where he had a neural sensor implanted which allowed him to wirelessly control a robotic hand via just moving one of his hands.

    I wonder if this is a proof of concept for another larger experiment?

  32. Roger Varley

    Am I the only one ...

    to wonder if Mr Cluely is a singularly apposite name for a senior technology consultant or a mis-print.

  33. Rosco

    When this goes really wrong

    This all just roll-your-eyes bullshit from the familiar bullshit factory at Reading. It will take a nasty turn if the Daily Mail print it and some poor guy refuses to have a pacemaker for fear of getting a computer virus, then dies of heart failure.

    Scaremongering tabloids reporting shite science can cost lives.

  34. iRadiate

    Embarrassed to have studied there

    I studied Cybernetics at Reading in the late '80's and am embarrassed to be associated with the new guys. Bring back old Prof Fellgett

  35. call me scruffy

    Thirteen years later...

    Given the wailing and gnashing of teeth in the press about the "Hundreds of thousands who can't find places on degree courses." (Forcing them to stand in dole queues without degrees in fine art appreciation to keep them warm at night.) It's nicely clear that the entire university of reading could be nuked to hell and back, without setting human progress back a single heart beat.

    Thirteen years after Blair's "Education Education Education" bullshit, this is what we've been left with in British Academia. Half a nation that thinks this was worth doing, and another half nation who thinks that this is all that engineering research is good for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Oh do grow up a bit, one report from one person in one department at one university does not mean that the university is totally worthless. Off the top of my head, Reading is the place to go for:


      Food Science


      Don't confuse random publicity bumf churned out by the press with the real research that goes on, especially within the Cybernetics department.

      1. call me scruffy


        Mature Discussion? On The Reg? No!

        This "Human Infected with PC Virus" episode is empty publicity seeking, with absolutely no academic worth. It's proved nothing, but stoked more than a few drunken pub conversations by beer-educated "experts".

        If Reading is happy to have this crap pushed out as being representative of their work, then they deserve all the scathing that man can level against them.

  36. Anonymous Coward


    Maybe some enterprising student can regain a little dignity for their institution by adding an anti-virus scanner to the RFID door security to keep the malware out of the building - or maybe lock them in quarantine somewhere out of the way.

    I'm pretty sure the first guys getting pacemakers, cochlea implants and various other medical hitech have a better claim to being the first cyborgs.

  37. Ben Rosenthal

    mans a fucking idiot

    the good parts have been bog standard sci-fi fare for the last 40 years or so, for the rest he's just talking crap to grab headlines from bigger idiots.

  38. YumDogfood

    Capt'n Cyborg and the boy witless.

    Reading glories in stats, cookery and body mod fetishes? I suppose someone has to (clean the telephones) but its sadly disappointing that its promoted with such enthusiasm. I would keep quiet about that if it was my uni.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Yeah, but your uni couldn't even get you the training to be able to click on the 'reply to this post' button.

      Also, I realise you are trolling, but for the record:

      Meteorology= physics, maths, stats, chemistry, with a side order of engineering and electronics

      Food Science= production line technology, chemistry, biology, etc. etc.

      Cybernetics= Electrionics, computing, interfacing, feedback, programming, AI, engineering, robotics, maths, man-machine interfacing

      So yes, I would shout about it and publicise it everywhere I could.


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