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Time: 16:21 23 May 2011

Superhuman showcases human improvements

11th September 2012

A popular exhibition to mark London's hosting of the London 2012 Paralympics is continuing until October 16th.

Charting the development of human enhancement, the show features a prosthetic toe that dates back to 600BC as well as looking towards the future to see how high-technology will be used.

Other items on display include a 19th-century silver prosthetic nose that was developed for a woman who lost her own nose as a result of syphilis.

Emily Sargent, curator of Superhuman, said: "Human enhancement is one of the most exciting and feared areas of modern science, where sci-fi imaginings seemingly come alive. But it is not the exclusive preserve of the contemporary technologist, as our desire to enhance ourselves and our ingenuity to do so is in evidence throughout our history."

One area of the exhibition examines the pursuit of Olympic success and the development of devices to improve performance both legally and illegally. The story of Tom Hicks who won the 1904 Olympic marathon but collapsed due to the legal drugs found in his system probably because he was only allowed to train for four weeks per year.

Superhuman also looks at the increase in nutrition with the development of isotonic drinks and performance-enhancing kit such as Nike's early waffle sole training shoes to help athletes achieve world record-breaking standards.

Admission to the Wellcome Collection is free and there are three gallery spaces for visitors to enjoy as well as a café, bookshop and library.

Visitors staying at central London hotels can travel easily to the venue as it is close to a number of London Underground stations such as Euston, Warren Street and King's Cross St Pancras.


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