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The theoretical Augmentations

  1. Apr 12, 2013 #1
    The theoretical "Augmentations"

    One thing that is somewhat common and has to do with medical science and my interests are augmentations, robotic, nano-technological, or even sometimes genetic enhancements. In the science fiction representations people can outperform human strength and speed with prosthetic limbs, access a chat channel or use the internet with cranial augmentations, and in some cases see through walls with visual prosthesis. The thing I want to discuss are current technologies that can be used to possibly make ideas of how to bring "Augmentations" closer, even if only in theory. One thought I have, the main one is sub-dermal armor made primarily out of Graphene. With Graphene being so light, thin, and strong you could easily implant just behind the dermis so as to protect from damage without stopping cell placement like an implant over the dermis would. Any ballistics impact is still going to tear the skin open or likely break ribs, but it's definately better to have sub-dermal armor to protect the user from maximum damage than it is to have it tear through organs. And if nano-bots could place a layer of graphene under every few layers of calcium in the bones and keep it growing then the bones would also be incredibly strong, although I am not sure if that is medically possible. I don't want to type a wall of text, I will say more in reply to anyone who comments.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 13, 2013 #2


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    Sorry but this is all science fiction. Nothing more. There's no consideration of biology here for example Wolfs law of bone remodelling (try to strengthen bone with other materials and it will weaken over time) or cellular response to mechanical stimulus that would result in significant changes to gene expression and tissue behaviour.

    Also nanobots are just a pop sci idea, aside from a few fringe works there really isn't any part of the field of nanotechnology working on them. I highly doubt that any microscopic robot could be made that would outperform naturally evolved biological systems in their own task. Something analogous and far more realistic is the cell therapy, especially when cells are taken from a patient/donor and genetically modified before being put into a patient. That field has potential, microscopic submarines not so much.

    As for devices that allow people to be connected and access data we already have that: smartphones. It may seem flippant but I'm serious, they represent an important aspect of most people's extended mind with few of the problems of proposed implantable computers (like easy purchase and repair with no risk to health, no chance of infection, easier upgrade etc). If you want to go a bit further a long the line we might get wearable technology that does all the things science fiction brain implants do but without the need to shove it into a skull.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  4. Apr 14, 2013 #3
    Well anything in you see in scifi that defies the law of physics is not going to be possible here, so things super powers that superman have will not be possible
  5. Apr 14, 2013 #4
    The bottleneck in both cases is the learning process, which is slow and ponderous. Some people might consider that to be too slow, and want an upgrade to something faster.
  6. Apr 14, 2013 #5


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    This thinking is flawed as it seems to inherently assume that learning with an electronic device is a one trick process with a glass ceiling. In reality there is huge scope for elearning, the khan academy for instance is constantly tracking data like correlations between various video combinations and score outcomes. This is a simple example of a process that could lead to better automatic adaptive learning techniques. I'm not saying that this will be totally paradigm shifting but a future in which people use learning apps that tap into a myriad of different learning resources in the cloud and pick those best suited to the user (becoming better at figuring that out over time by comparison with other users) is a far more likely scenario for quicker, easier, electronic learning than brain computers.

    There really isn't much science to discuss otherwise. Products like nootropics are fringe and already subject to marketing abuse (I've seen several supplement products advertised as nootropic with no clear science to back them up) and whilst it isn't hard to find examples of animal studies in which invasive technologies improved some facet of learning that's a far cry from science fiction intelligence augmentation via brain implants. It also ignores the practical complications of surgical implantation, risk of rejection and infection, upgrade problems etc.

    Given all the drawbacks of implantable devices I can't see widespread commercial development over wearable technology with better software.
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