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What would the $6 Million Man cost today?

These days, six mil might not even buy a finger. Here's a look at some pop culture icons - what they went for back in the day, and how much they might cost now.

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Steve Austin - 1974
Steve Austin - 1974
  • 1974 cost: $6 million
  • 2008 inflation adj. cost: $26 million
  • Actual 2008 cost: Up to $100 million
  • We can rebuild him, but for how much? Back in 1974, $6 million was enough to buy crashed-astronaut Steve Austin a new arm, an eye, and a pair of legs with super strength and vision.

    Today, we might call him the Twenty-Six Million Dollar Man. That's the value of $6 million in 1974 dollars when adjusted for inflation using tools from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    But the real cost of a modern-day cyborg in 2008 would be quite different, according to Greg Chirikjian, professor of mechanical engineering at The Johns Hopkins Institute and a big fan of the original TV show.

    According to Chirikjian, research and development costs to design a bionic man would be $50 million to $100 million today. But with a completed design, production costs would only be several hundred thousand dollars per person, he said, but they'd lack Austin's super powers.

    "These are not individuals who are going to jump three stories onto a building and see three miles away," Chirikjian said, noting that replacement parts "would approximate the functionality of the original limbs."

    This cybernetic technology is not yet available, he said, but it is achievable: "It would require further R&D, though people are working on various aspects of it."


    NEXT: The Brady Bunch - 1969 to 1974
    Last updated May 23 2008: 3:58 PM ET
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