One step closer to a bionic future...
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Thread: One step closer to a bionic future...

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    One step closer to a bionic future...

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Yeah, Dean Kamen really knocked this on out of the park. He make me proud. DEKA's Bionics is just a stopgap, however, a way for Darpa to give wounded soldiers some quality of life back while waiting for longer term research projects, namely limb regeneration, to bear fruit... I'm not sure bionics is going to have a big future except in terms of exoskeletons for "heavy lifting", because Darpa funds all sorts of stuff to make "organically" stronger soldiers... chemically induced awakeness, 20/2 vision, muscle generation, and the ability to run for a day without breathing heavy. Organically inducing greater abilities, in the long run, will be cheaper, more natural and more efficient and will have wider applications throughout civilian life as well, obviously.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    The problem with regeneration will be the possible link with cancer, I would think. Cancer cells replicate themselves terrifyingly quickly. Scientists would have to find out how they do that in order to regenerate a limb, I would think, and then find a way to ensure that only the relevant cells regenerated without mutating.

    Just imagine! If they ever did do that, they might well find a cure for cancer.

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Yes, a great deal of the research right now is on how to prevent cancer with the use of stem cells, which relates to the regeneration process. The progress is ongoing and astounding in this field. Almost every other day there is a new paper on the topic. And now that computational biotech is a global industry, the research is proceeding at an ever accelerating pace. I believe that the chemical signalling process that promotes limb growth in the human womb is actually very similar to the regeneration process you see in starfish or newts or whatever. Our bodies just turn off the mechanism after awhile. They are working on turning it back on without cranking up the cancer probability. There is also the idea of cloning/regrowing the parts outside of the body and then attaching them (which bypasses the rejection problem), and there's the idea of using a "matrix" of progenitor cells (basically powdered flesh building stuff) to "build out" the missing limb from its base outward (our bodies replace cell types accurately because of local signalling processes, but these processes are much more definite in the womb, and become more localized in adulthood. So a baby in the womb may be able grow back an entire arm, because the signals are mapped on globally, whereas an adult, even with some kind of matrix powder, would only have enough signalling to grow a sort of "baby arm" from an arm severed near the shoulder. This is obviously a problem.)

    Anyway... if we can just outlast this recession, the biotech revolution might be waiting for us on the other side. If we have the stomach for it.

    kev

    Last edited by kev ferrara; April 12th, 2009 at 09:34 PM.
    At least Icarus tried!


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    Extrapolate that idea and you can stop aging; maybe even create immortality.

    I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. Not getting decrepit until it's time to shuffle off this mortal coil has its attractions; but, who wants to live forever? I'm not sure I do. It would eventually lead to no more children, no new life, and stultification. No fresh looks at life; no dealing with other people's imperfections? Sounds a bit boring, eh?

    I hope they don't take it too far.....

    Just imagine living with the same group of people for eternity. Remember to include the people who piss you off......

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    HunterKiller_ is offline Registered User Level 15 Gladiator: Spartacus' Hoplomachi
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    The sad thing is that these wonderful and life changing advances can't even exist without 'military interest'.

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    Sadder still; only the rich will benefit......... and perpetrate.

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Alesoun... think about how many problems acute time pressure causes, how many dreams go unfulfilled, how much self hatred that causes, how selfish and shallow and unmindful of the future that makes people. Think about how much information is lost with each death. If people want to shuttle off after a few hundred years, that's fine too. Having the option would be nice. Of course, sustainability will have to be addressed alongside this revolution, but we've doubled lifespan in the last 100 years and did pretty well on the adaptation front. No reason we can adapt further.

    HK, Sad fact, yes, saddest fact, no. Necessity is the mother of invention, and there's no greater necessity than tribe security. Which is another way of saying, the only thing worse than necessary war is losing a necessary war.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Quote Originally Posted by alesoun View Post
    Extrapolate that idea and you can stop aging; maybe even create immortality.
    And get cancers all over the place in the process!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telomerase

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    I for one welcome immortality.

    Although it won't be as great is it's made out to be. Eventual death will come in mundane ways. Car accident, falling down the stairs, drowning, choking to death on a piece of candy....

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