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Biotech Medicine Hardware Science

Harvard Creates Cyborg Tissues 108

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-wired dept.
MrSeb writes "Bioengineers at Harvard University have created the first examples of cyborg tissue: Neurons, heart cells, muscle, and blood vessels that are interwoven by nanowires and transistors. These cyborg tissues are half living cells, half electronics. As far as the cells are concerned, they're just normal cells that behave normally — but the electronic side actually acts as a sensor network, allowing a computer to interface directly with the cells. In the case of cyborg heart tissue, the researchers have already used the embedded nanowires to measure the contractions (heart rate) of the cells. So far, the researchers have only used the nanoelectric scaffolds to read data from the cells — but according to lead researcher Charles Lieber, the next step is to find a way of talking to the individual cells, to 'wire up tissue and communicate with it in the same way a biological system does.' Suffice it to say, if you can use a digital computer to read and write data to your body's cells, there are some awesome applications."
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Harvard Creates Cyborg Tissues

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  • Grown. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MnemonicMan (2596371) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:36PM (#41174045)
    The issue for all of us who already exist today is that the tissue grows around the mesh. Certainly in the future new organisms can be grown and integrated at the same time to become cybernetic life forms. However, for all of us who are already grown getting a mesh inside of our tissues presents a whole other engineering problem.
  • Re:DRM. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arthurh3535 (447288) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:00PM (#41174221)

    Your heart possibly being owned by a corporation. Or your willy wang and the police busting down your door for unauthorised jerking methods.

    You mean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repo!_The_Genetic_Opera [wikipedia.org] ?

  • by harlequinn (909271) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:12PM (#41174305)

    Cool.

    I wonder what the infection rate along the interfaces is?

  • Awesome! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lotana (842533) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:59PM (#41174565)

    Ignoring all the ./'s typical cynicism: This is quite an exciting development.

    If the artificial components can be kept functioning without affecting the living tissue, we will be able to help people with virtually any physical disability! A few weeks ago there was a stoly how brain signals were decoded when it came to sight, so combine that with this breakthrough we can even have people controlling the devices with their mind!

    Biotech is making great strides in progress. This is a very exciting time to be alive.

  • Re:Does this mean... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @11:08PM (#41174901)

    Perhaps Jon Daly was correct, someday there might be a vagina that doubles as a Wifi hotspot.

    The only thing going in my vajayjay that runs on batteries comes with a happy at the end. I'm sure most women feel similar. Second, do you really want your dick in a microwave? What do you think rubbing your man-sausage on a transmitter pumping out several watts is going to your little swimmers?

  • Re:DRM. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BlueStrat (756137) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @12:47AM (#41175399)

    I'm a bit more optimistic than this but should the singularity occur you might as well not worry about the details of what comes after as by definition it's unpredictable.

    I'm not at all, looking at just the USA and what companies like Monsanto, GSK and Kaiser Permanente have been able to get away with and also get legislated to protect their interests at the expense of everyone else, I'm not optimistic at all.

    If we accept that all human beings have weaknesses, fears, failings, and that no individual or finite group is impervious to corruption and/or compromise/influence/pressure, then logic says that the only realistic option to avoid most of the worst of corporate and other influence/corruption/compromise of the government is to make the central government as small and weak as practical, and keep as much of the local day-to-day governance as local and answerable to the people as possible.

    Decentralization, baby! Like the way the internet was intended to work, damage/corruption is routed around until repairs are effected.

    That way the Monsantos, GSKs, and Kaiser Permanentes of the world won't be able to buy influence over the entire nation in one spot from a relatively-small number of the very very powerful in the Federal government like a "supermarket of sleaze", but would have to influence/corrupt/bribe many, many city/county/state governments and officials/legislative bodies across the country and keep all those illegal acts from becoming widely known and drawing prosecution. A much more expensive, time-consuming, and risky proposition. It would thus help reduce the risks of corruption of the singularity from those sources and help tilt the scales a fraction more towards a more benign outcome.

    Look, we've all generally agreed and acknowledged that politicians are all ambitious, greedy, power-hungry sleazebags that can and will, given the chance, bring that painting of a boot crushing a human face forever to reality. And yes, that includes "your guy", too.

    Given that, wouldn't it be wise to keep the ones with the most power and ability to control you and your life within easy arm's-reach where you can nip their overreaches and encroachments on your wealth, security, free speech, and freedom in the bud? Keep in mind also that it's much harder for them to go astray if they've got to face the people they're governing across their own backyard fences, their kids go to the same school, etc etc.

    As a side-benefit, it would also tend to greatly reduce the power and influence of the two major national political parties and severely reduce the ability of a relatively few national party leaders to dictate to the rest. It's possible it could even allow the emergence of a third party or even more.

    It also coincidentally assures some variety in the style, flavor, and feel of governance from place to place across the nation and thus there is a better chance one can find a place to live with governance that accommodates one's religious, cultural, and political beliefs to a sufficient degree.

    This, I believe, would also greatly increase the chances for a more-positive outcome from the singularity by assuring a variety of views, cultures, and beliefs, thus avoiding a monoculture of tyranny.

    Strat

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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