Tuesday, February 5, 2013

stem cells - 3d printer

I try to keep up with all technology, even bio (as most gadget blogs do too).  I'm not sure if this is significant (tech writers often gloss over things and make them sound better than they really are).  This gizmodo article talks about being able to control where the cells end up (not so much creating stem cells from scratch, they are taking pre-existing stem cells).  Of course the whole issue is that unless we can grow our own stem cells, those in control of ethics say we can't play around with them (I.E. extract them from a body).  That still doesn't discount this article.  What it's saying is that they were able to take stem cells (something very generic like a "stem cell"), and forming it into any tissue type (and shape).  It's sort of like taking a basic building block like carbon, and popping out a steel rod, and a diamond, and a length of super-strong graphene.

Why is this signifigant?  Well, imagine if you had a stock of stem cells (let's say we figure out a way to grow our own).  Now you stick that into a cartridge, and you 3d print (not only filling a specific very precisely controlled shape, but allowing those cells to become any cell the body produces).   Well then you have the ability (in theory) to recreate anything in the body.  Lost limbs, cancerous sections of the body, perhaps a new chunk of brain that has a tumor?  If you had an adaptable printer (one that could scan the body and adjust as needed), you would be doing more than just printing out chunks of flesh.  You could in theory print directly onto that part of the body.  Heck, you could have a robotic surgeon slice that part out (tiny hunks on a molecular level), and print the new section as needed.

Of course you know where I'm going with this.  You want boobs?  Scan your chest, take that 3d data, mold the shape you want, let the robots figure out how much stem cell juice it needs and how to lay those cells down, and off it goes.  You want a fully functioning vagina?  No sweat, after some heavy sedatives, you'll fall asleep and wake up a day later with a new sex organ.

Decided to google this theory, seems someone else is on the same page as me (this was written two years ago).  It states that they believe by 2020 we will have such ability

Have you ever went to work as a man one day, and a woman the next?  You will! and the company that will bring it to you?  AT&T

AT&T Reference

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