Steve Backshall

Level Up Human – Steve Backshall vs Kate Storrs

Level Up Human Series 2, Episode 11: Steve Backshall vs Kate Storrs

Level Up Human is a podcast panel show, on a mission to redesign the human body.

Simon and Rach chat to naturalist and broadcaster Steve Backshall and visual perception scientist Kate Storrs.

We discuss enhanced vision, limb regeneration, gecko hands, super kidneys and re-breathing.

Extracts from the episode, edited for readability are available here.

In the news…

Kate is tickled and baffled by a news story about Microsoft. They have patented to generate cryptocurrency by monitoring people’s brain activity.

Steve’s news story is entitled, ‘Venomous Frogs use Heads as Weapons.’

And Rach’s levelled up human is Bertolt Meyer, a DJ, producer and Professor of Organisational Psychology from Technische Universität Chemnitz who has hacked his prosthetic hand to hook it up to his synth.

The Pitches

Steve wants to borrow the abilities of the Iberian sharp-ribbed newt, a type of salamander which can regenerate limbs and organs.

Kate, on the other hands, thinks the human body should be able to see the polarisation of light

From the audience, we have suggestions including souped up kidneys and gecko hands.

Finally Simon has a suggestion from nature.

Which of our suggestions will make Rachel’s shortlist? Which will win? Listen to find out.

Mentioned this episode

Deep Neural Networks:

Microsoft has filed a patent to mine cryptocurrencies using your brainwaves:

Venomous frogs use heads as weapons:

Golden poison frog:

Pig-nosed purple frog:

Bertolt Meyer:

Disabled or superhuman?:



Pluripotent stem cells:

Tissue-specific stem cells:

Zebrafish can regrow their brains:

Planaria worms:

Steve bitten by black piranha:

Honey bee waggle dance:

Haidinger’s brush:

Cuttlefish and high-definition polarisation vision:

Cuttlefish iridophores and chromataphores:

Mantis shrimp:

Bioinspired camera could help self-driving cars ‘see’ better:


Bear Grylls:

The IT Crowd:

The Exorcist III:


‘Scuba-diving’ lizard, Anolis aquaticus:

Steve’s Home Schooling (9.30am, Wednesdays):

The Mirror Trap:

Stay In for Towel Day:

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