Tag: Wetware

Leprosy 7

Is the Human Body Redundant?

The increasing ‘liveliness’ of machines and accessibility to the virtual world has raised questions about whether it is possible to uncouple the mind from the body in through a host of different strategies. The basic idea is that if we are able to escape the ties of our own flesh then we can upgrade them and even replace them with immortal ones. Performance artist Stelarc has made some of the most extreme and enduring work on this subject. The artist characteristically depersonalises his anatomy and claims that it is not only an object that can be subjected to re-designing but is also ‘obsolete’. During his performances, Stelarc mentally ‘vacates’ his own body to prove its obsolescence, and claims that his body is no more than a site for redesigning and re-engineering the human form.

In my view, Stelarc’s work paradoxically highlights the profound importance that embodiment holds for being human. When Stelarc dissociates his mind from his body he demonstrates its sheer plasticity and robustness. The artist then recolonizes the body with robots, communications technologies and soft prostheses as proof of this inbuilt physical redundancy. Yet the machines he hosts are given context by the presence of a body – for in its absence, they are just a collection of machines devoid of meaning. Moreover, redundancy is a characteristic of complex systems, which are a form of organization that does not obey the Cartesian, dualistic laws that govern machines. The artist’s rejection of these qualities simply highlights that the human body is not a machine.

There is nothing liberating about having an anesthetized body, nor one that is functionally redundant. While Stelarc’s suspensions and performances demonstrate that we can temporarily ‘forget’ our bodies in order to explore a transcendent state of being, there are those who live in a permanent state of disconnection.

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How to grow an Organ

Buckle up for the state of the art in the fusion of the made & the born. Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine presented footage of his bio-engineers…

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3D Bioprinter promises tissue on demand

Behold “the world’s first production model 3D bio-printer.” A machine capable of arranging human cells and artificial scaffolds into complex three-dimensional structures, which result in such wonderful things as printed design meat,…

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Computer versus bacteria

Are bacteria faster than a computer? According a group of biological engineers they are. The scientists have done a research in which they have used the well-known bacteria Escherichia coli to solve a mathematical problem.

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Ear on your arm? Why not?!

For over 40 years Australian artist Stelios Arcadious Stelarc has made art with medical instruments, prosthetics, robots, virtual reality systems and biotechnology to investigate alternate, intimate and involuntary interfaces with the body.…

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Crash course on synthetic genomics

Next Monday when your colleagues ask you what you have been doing for the weekend, you might answer you something default like you went out with friends, danced, biked to the beach,…

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skincells stemcells embryos
Guided Growth

Reprogramming Skin Cells into Stem Cells

A major breakthrough in the world of genetics: Researchers have successfully reprogrammed skin cells into stem cells. Using a technique called iPS cell reprogramming (developed in Japan 2006) they were able to…

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The Next Hacking Frontier: Your Brain

WiredScience writes: Hackers who commandeer your computer are bad enough. Now scientists worry that someday, they’ll try to take over your brain. In the past year, researchers have developed technology that makes it possible to use thoughts to operate a computer, maneuver a wheelchair or even use Twitter — all without lifting a finger. But as neural devices become more complicated — and go wireless — some scientists say the risks of “brain hacking” should be taken seriously.

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Wetware [definition]

Though its exact definition has shifted over time, the term “wetware” and its fundamental reference to “the physical mind” has been around from the mid-1950s. In its original, intended meaning, wetware is…

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glowing marmoset monkeys

Green Glowing Monkeys

Japanese researchers of the Central Institute for Experimental Animals, took a green fluorescent protein gene of a jellyfish, wove it into the DNA of a few marmosets embryos, then let the monkeys…

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breast cancer

Liberate the Breast Cancer Genes

breast cancer

On May 12, 2009 the ACLU and the (not-for-profit) Public Patent Foundation, filed a lawsuit, charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and invalid. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four scientific organizations representing more than 150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals, as well as individual researchers, breast cancer and women’s health groups, genetic counselors and individual women.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has granted thousands of patents on human genes – in fact, about 20 percent of our genes are patented. A gene patent holder has the right to prevent anyone from studying, testing or even looking at a gene. As a result, scientific research and genetic testing has been delayed, limited or even shut down due to concerns about gene patents.

“Patenting human genes is counter to common sense, patent law and the Constitution,” said Daniel B. Ravicher, Executive Director of PUBPAT and co-counsel in the lawsuit. “Genes are identified, not invented, and patenting genetic sequences is like patenting blood, air or e=mc2.”

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How biotech will drive our evolution

Are you ready for some techno-optimism? Buckle up and enjoy the ride with bio-tech evangelist Gregory Stock. Some quotes from his prophetic TED talk: “We are seizing control of our evolutionary future.…

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twitter brain interface

Turning Brain Waves into Tweets

Are you using Twitter and looking for faster ways to update your followers with your utterly mundane status on what you are thinking? Adam Wilson from the University of Wisconsin has now…

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Intimate Technology

Brain Scan Replaces Job Interview in 5 Years?

Forget about palmistry! MRI scans for candidates in top jobs such as bank directors could soon become part of the job-application package, says Erasmus University researcher Prof Willem Verbeke of Rotterdam, He’s confident brain scans will replace job interviews within 5 years.

Prof. Verbeke heads the department of neuro-economics, (NSIM), at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He predicts in an interview with Good Morning Netherlands radio station that employers demanding compulsory brain scans from their job applicants will soon become the most normal thing in the world – in fact within five years’ time’, he believes.

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