Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year to All You Mouses Out There!

I'd though I'd leave you this year with a mind blower.... Well it is 2010.

A new paper reports that scientist have now created a mouse from basic 'human' stems cell. Yes, from dumb tissue extraced from a you and me (transhumanists eat your heart out).

The paper reads:

'... cells are derived from ordinary skin cells, and when they were created two years ago from human skin and genetically reprogrammed, it was hailed as a breakthrough. But questions remained whether they could act as chameleon-like as embryonic stem cells and morph into any cell type in the body..... One way to show that versatility is if the new reprogrammed stem cells could be used to produce an entire new life.'

New life forms A!

Don't over do it tonight! There maybe Frankenstien Mouse about!

Want to find out more then click here.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Future Technologies, Today's Choices:

Nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics.

'A Technological, Political and Institutional Map or Emerging Technologies.'

This is a well researched, well organised, and well presented 'Futures' paper.

However, it does what I see far to often. It panders to political will and dogma. It bends to the risk that some of the emerging technologies will not go as far, if at all.

In short, it lacks guts and determination. It presents the data not in a conservative light, but a skeptical one.

There are indeed risks in many new technologies, but that is part-and-parcel of the research. 30 percent of Nanotechnology research budgets, worldwide, is spent on ethical research and rick evaluation and monitoring.

Carbon Nanotubes are Casigenetic. Fact. But so is burnt Toast at breakfast! Risk reduction by design and organisation is the plan in action.

Anyway. Make up your own mind.

Click here for paper.
Nanomedicine: Vol I; and Vol IIA; by Robert Freitas.

Nanomedicine Volume I, is a first of a kind. An archetype. But it’s much more than that, more than a book on technological therapies for illness, it stretches far beyond what we now know.

The table of contents (below) is extended in some detail by clicking here. I'd recommend a quick look!

1: The Prospect of Nanomedicine.

2: Pathways to Molecular.

3: Molecular Transport and Sortation.

4: Nanosensors and Nanoscale Scanning.

5: Shapes and Metamorthic Surfaces.

6: Power.

7: Communication.

8: Navigation.

9: Manipulation & Locomotion.

10: Other Basic Capabilities.

The reading material is, at its very least, a book that turns scientific dreams into facts.

It’s the foundation of Nanomedicine; the use, in medicine, of bacteria sized programmable machines, constructed using molecular nanotechnology.

It sets the limits and possibilities of how nanoscale robots (nanobots) may function in the repair, maintenance and eventual augmentation of the human body.

Nanomedicine will be of interest to physicians, physicists, chemists, biologists, bioengineers as well as nonscientists who wonder how advanced technology may be used to solve currently unsolved problems in medicine. Anyone who considers themselves a 'futurist' or who is interested in aspects of nanotechnology should consider the book 'required reading'.

Even individuals who doubt the possibility of molecular nanoassembly will find this series useful due to the quantity and diversity of material relating to computing, human physiology, molecular biology and nanoscale physics that are brought together.

And more:

In Vol IIA Freitas has turned out a remarkable volume of information. It is probably useful to have read Nanomedicine Volume 1 before reading Volume IIA, but Volume IIA can be read on its own particularly if one has a biological or medical education (I've not).

Its emphasis is on whether we can expect nanotechnology based devices to be able to operate within the human body, but it also deals with whether or not certain aspects of nanotechnology might be dangerous to biological life in general. I thought the aspects of the book that identified the areas where we lack knowledge at this time to be particularly useful.

For example, topics are pointed out that still need deep research. The book is excellent in suggesting solutions for problems we can anticipate at this time in the area of biocompatibility.

This work is particularly timely because groups such as the ETC Group and Greenpeace have recently released reports that might reflect negatively on nanotechnology. This book provides a partial basis for informed debate on the risks vs the benefits of nanotechnology.

Since medical applications of nanotechnology may save 100's of millions of lives annually; arguing against it requires very strong arguments. Anyone who has not read this book and attempts to criticize the development of nanotechnology for biological applications can probably be considered poorly informed.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

If you've just read my post above, then this will only confirm that Nanomedicine is real and heading our way.

For decades, scientists and fiction writers alike have been fascinated by the possibility of tiny machines that can enter a patient, travel to otherwise inaccessible regions, and then diagnose or repair problems with far less pain and with far greater precision than existing medical procedures.

In his famous speech from 1959, 'There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom', Richard Feynman, an American physicist, called this concept “swallow the surgeon”. More recently proponents of nanotechnology have imagined swarms of 'nanobots;' tiny machines just billionths of a meter, or nanometeres, across, that might fix mutations in a person’s DNA or kill off cancer cells before they have a chance to develop into a tumour.

People in the field acknowledge that there are many obstacles to overcome. A big problem, for example, is how to provide power to tiny medical robots. Batteries can provide enough energy for passive capsules like the Pillcam, but robots with active locomotion pose more of a challenge, and micro-robots are likely to need more energy than batteries can store at such small scales. Instead of adding a power source to the device, which increases its weight and bulk, one approach is to apply external magnetic fields to a small robotic device that contains magnetic material, allowing it to be steered simply by controlling the magnetic fields around it.

At the NanoRobotics Laboratory at Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal in Canada scientists are using magnetic fields, generated by a magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) machines to ferry small beads through the stream with the goal of delivering therapeutics close to tumours.

This has several advantages. For one thing most hospitals already have an MRI machine, so there is no need to construct or buy additional equipment. Furthermore, as well as propelling a magnetic device through the body, an MRI machine can also locate it.

Last year the team achieved a milestone when it manoeuvred a 1.5-millimetre bead through a 5-millimetre artery in a living pig. Since then the researchers have reduced the bead’s size to about 250 micrometres.

Want to find out more? Then click here and visit the conference website.