A cyborg being ‘born’ live on stage and robots that can assist in the care of the elderly were some of the highlights of the Tech Summit at Cork City Hall.

The seventh installment of the Tech Summit, which is organised by voluntary tech group IT@Cork and has the Irish Examiner as a media partner, saw an audience transfixed as event co-chair, Denis Canty, receive a so-called smart implant live on stage, making him the first live cyborg seen by an Irish audience.

Mr Canty, an automation and artificial intelligence expert at McKesson, was fitted with the device by Patrick Kramer, the chief cyborg officer with Vivokey Technologies.

Dr Kramer said it was a demonstration of how the amount of technology inside our bodies will increase in the future, until cyborgs are as familiar in everyday life as Facebook or Google.

Delegates convene at Cork City Hall to discuss the future of AI, future psychology and digital health.
Delegates convene at Cork City Hall to discuss the future of AI, future psychology and digital health.

“Being a bodyhacker, I am not only chipped, but I also experiment with new implants inside my body,” said Dr Kramer.

Step by step, we will increase the amount of technology inside our bodies. This will increasingly change us humans and will radically change our skills in every aspect of life. Cyborgs can and will become commonplace.

He predicted implants will eventually replace the smartphone, the stuff of futuristic sci-fi blockbusters.


“People are already using smart implants in place of their car keys,” said Dr Kramer. “Further developments in this field — expected to come on stream this summer — including the implantation of next-generation chips, which will allow people to replace their smartphones with a microchip.”

Mr Canty said: “To have all of these learned people and fascinating technologies under one roof was truly thrilling.”

Conor McGinn, head of robotics and assistant professor at Trinity College Dublin, enthralled the 250-plus in attendance with Stevie, the prototype robot that could become part carer and part friend to the elderly.

Stevie is a humanoid robot designed to let people live at home but get the benefits of assisted livng.

Stevie was developed by researchers and engineers at TCD who began using a Playstation controller, 3D-printed plastic arms and a head to put him together.


Mr McGinn said one in three people over 65 has had a fall and more than €1bn a year is spent to treat injuries, while dementia is set to double by 2037. The use of technology to combat health issues, as well as the scourge of loneliness, could be crucial in the future, he said.

“Stevie’s primary goal is to combat loneliness but he also works as a first responder and supports cognitive engagement,” said Mr McGinn.

He has been programmed to recognise what is normal and abnormal behaviour for an elderly person, and to notify someone if something is out of the ordinary.

Caroline O’Driscoll, chairwoman of IT@Cork, said Cork has to grab the opportunities coming its way in the coming years.

“We are a city big on life, talent and tech. We need to support of the innovators and the entrepreneurs,” she noted, adding that the city’s docklands is a “gem of a site if we get it right”.

More on this topic

J Bradford DeLong: How technology has corrupted discourseJ Bradford DeLong: How technology has corrupted discourse

Smart technology to be used to tackle problem of stolen or damaged lifebuoysSmart technology to be used to tackle problem of stolen or damaged lifebuoys

GameTech: The new video game 'I am Jesus Christ'GameTech: The new video game 'I am Jesus Christ'

Instagram now requests date of birth when accounts createdInstagram now requests date of birth when accounts created


Who hasn’t dreamt of cutting ties with the nine-to-five and living off-the-grid?The great escape: What's life like off the grid?

Jazz in Europe these days exists in a highly networked environment of cultural and political bodies, festivals, promoters, musicians and educators.Jazz Connective Festival: Intriguing, exciting and uncompromising

It will be bittersweet for Stormzy that his second album arrives the day the British Labour party was confirmed as suffering a historic general election trouncing.Album review: Stormzy remains a work in progress

Unique drawings by Quentin Blake, one of Britain’s best-loved illustrators, are available at a Christie’s online auction which runs until December 17.Your chance to buy drawings by Roald Dahl illustrator Quentin Blake

More From The Irish Examiner