Remote-controlled humans?

By | May 30, 2012

I'm sure you know of that sci-fi dream – connect a memory device to the appropriate body part (wired or unwired), and 'download' the latest movements into your body. It may still require a bit of work, but this certainly brings us a big step closer.

See, being able to use ion transistors and silicon transistors on the same chip means that we are able to instigate biological behaviours using computer-controlled logic alone. While a variation of this could certainly lead to ill-intended remote-controlled human nightmares that sci-fi horror films seem to love – '___ forced me to do that crime' would indeed take on a new meaning – there are many great things we could do with this kind of technology.

Think instead of the possibilities: making life support actually a positive experience for a patient as opposed to a vegitative eternity, or allowing a paralytic like Stephen Hawking to be able to use his eye-to-speech codes in order to move his body without a wheelchair. Or go a step further and combine the ion-outputs with electric inputs from human nerves, and the possibilities for the new cyborg generation are endless.

Reshared post from +EuroTech

Controlling Muscles — First Chemical Circuit Developed
Klas Tybrandt, a doctoral student in organic electronics at the Linköping University in Sweden, has developed the first integrated chemical chip.
by +Alexander Becker, +EuroTech; Germany

The Organic Electronics research group at LiU previously developed ion transistors for transport of both positive and negative ions, as well as biomolecules. Tybrandt has now succeeded in combining both transistor types into complementary circuits, in a similar way to traditional silicon-based electronics.

One of the advantages of chemical circuits is that the charge carrier consists of chemical substances with various functions. This means that we now have new opportunities to control and regulate the signal paths of cells in the human body.

“We can, for example, send out signals to muscle synapses where the signalling system may not work for some reason. We know our chip works with common signalling substances, for example acetylcholine,” says Magnus Berggren, Professor of Organic Electronics and leader of the research group.

The development of ion transistors, which can control and transport ions and charged biomolecules, was begun three years ago by Tybrandt and Berggren, respectively a doctoral student and professor in Organic Electronics at the Department of Science and Technology at Linköping University. The transistors were then used by researchers at Karolinska Institutet to control the delivery of the signalling substance acetylcholine to individual cells. The results were published in the well-known interdisciplinary journal PNAS.

In conjunction with Robert Forchheimer, Professor of Information Coding at LiU, Tybrandt has now taken the next step by developing chemical chips that also contain logic gates, such as NAND gates that allow for the construction of all logical functions.

His breakthrough creates the basis for an entirely new circuit technology based on ions and molecules instead of electrons and holes.

Is this scary, or did you always want to have NAND gates inside your body?

Linköping University:
Nature Communications:
Image: LiU/Ingemar Franzén [The chemical chip can control the delivery of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This enables chemical control of muscles, which are activated when they come into contact with acetylcholine.]

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