The future has arrived; it's just not evenly distributed William Gibson

Nanobiology - the next great revolution in applied medical technologies

Rapidly emmerging technologies, manufacturing processes, and devices/systems development incorporating a plethora of nano and micro scale components and processes, are converging into a new domain of medical and cybernetic applications which are radically redefining the very meaning of the term "medicine". The pace of development, as well as the potential for "harvesting" the synergistic potential of combining a variety of technologies and processes which up until recently were specifically confined to the realms of academia, or "futurisitic" speculation, have dramatically changed the landscape of this arena of applications development. As an analytical tool, at the very core of this entire genre of development is the utilization of computer graphics and visualization, as an experiential knowledge conveyance engine, to provide the most effective methodology for conveying concepts and complex, synergistically interrelated arenas of development which could not otherwise be effectively delivered to a highly diverse, multi-disciplined audience.

About Charles Ostman - Institute for Global Futures

Contact Charles Ostman

"Strategic Synergist" - Research, advanced technology development, author, lecturer, and, just perhaps, "virtual artist".

Welcome to the newly emmerging world of Nanobiology - activate any of the images displayed here to view larger versions of these 3D renderings
Here is a brief glimpse into the arenas of biomolecular "components" integrated into microscale systems, biochip devices, quasi-viral components, synthetic organisms and object oriented organelle pseudomorph "entities", and other various examples of these rapidly emmerging technologies.

Quasi-Viral Component

Synthetically Engineered "Quasi-Viral Component" This is a 3D procedural rendering of a quasi-viral component. The geometries of this synthetically engineered "viral entity" were constructed algorithmically, as well as the topographical and surface features of the cell which the virus is about to enter via enzymic process. Engineered viral entities of this type are an example of the type of synthetically contrived molecular constructions eminating from the field of "nanobiology". This technology has spectacular potential biomedical applications, not the least of which is the delivery of key protein strands to the ribosomes and mitochondria of "ailing" cells, which they then could utilize for self repair and modification via intracellular corrective chemistry.

Synthetically engineered molecular entities have the potential of delivering the molecular equivilant of software to living cells, to instigate corrective and maintainance processes not possible via any other means.Potential applications - cures for perhaps most known diseases, possibly even aging itself. Potential risks - biological warfare agents of extraordinary destructive capacity, even the "accidental" eradication of life as it is currently known to be among the human population.

Neurochip

NeuroChipThis 3D rendering represents the latest development in a series of "biochip" devices, in this case, the precursory example technology which could have applications ranging from neural prosthetics to the next generation of biological computing and sensory system components. This example indicates molecular protein "snippets" induced into bonding with a receptor site, as a dynamic contact/ molecular conduction node embedded into a silicon micro device substrate.

Potential applications - Neural prosthetics, sensory enhancement systems, direct neural interconnect to implantable biochip components and integrated systems. Potential risks - applications which extend beyond benign or "situationally neutral" engineered solutions for human sensory and behavioral capacities

How often has it been said that a glimpse into the past is a mirror into the future? Technology trends, some of them serious, and others laughable, have come and gone much like the ever changing tides of fashion.

Consider the following possibilities within the next 10 to 15 years. Injectable nano machines and machine systems which en- ter the human body to target various medical annomalies, such as chloresterol deposits in arteries, blood clots and annurisms in crucial areas, such as within the brain. Nano "attack squads" could be established to essentially perform the same types of tasks that white blood cells perform, that is, attacking unwanted or intrusive micro-organisms. In a more advanced capacity, a permanent collection of nanite components could remain at various strategic internal locations, distributed throughout the human body, to continually monitor and arrest potential threats or degredation as it occurs. Applications could also include such tasks as depositing the equivilant of chemical "markers" on unwanted cells, or even viral invaders, which would then allow specialized drugs to seek and destroy those unwanted entities which have been so marked. In fact, the ultimate extension of this realm of application is the creation of a cybernetic "enhancement" of permanent, cellular nanite components which could very much extend the lifetime of whoever they were installed in. The boundary between "natural" life and the molecularly engineered modification thereof has already been crossed. This is the defacto equivilant of redefining Nature, as a contrived process. Consider this. As of this writing, the first steps of establishing biomechanical and bio-electrical links with various sensory organs within the human body have already occurred. Perhaps the most spectacular implementation to date is the successful implantation of an ultra-miniaturized choclear ear implant which allows formerly deaf indviduals to hear for the first time ever. Even more potentially spectacular is the current research in augmenting otherwise damaged optic nerve connections to the brain via artificially constructed neural conductors to restore sight to blind individuals. In one example, a series of dot pat- terns created with a computer were actually injected, via voltage signals, directly into the optic nerve fibers of a patient, who could then see the dots. Though the patterns were very coarse (6 x 8 dot matrices, as of the latest publication), this repre- sents the first time that a direct visual link from an external computer had ever been established.

Dendrite

Another area of interest being considered by some developers is the potential for "growing" the defacto equivilant of a synthetic neural dendrite as an artificial enhancement for embedding into organic neural tissue in the human brain. This is a "virtual dendrite", grown as an L-system fractal generated 3D branching structure, and texture mapped with a fractal generated procedural texture.

Even in merely the medical applications realm, this is only the very beginning. Consider the concept of "neural enhancement" on an intracellular, or even molecular scale. What does this mean? Within the human brain, information is transferred, processed, and stored via the conduction of sodium ions being transmitted by billions of tiny nerve fibers called dendrites. The dendrites are actually arranged in clusters, or ganglion, and groups of clusters, much like the branches of trees. It is the branching structure density, or relative number of "node sites" within these ganglion which determine the complexity and robustness of information processing within a given region of brain tissue. In fact, researchers have already indicated with experimentation that actual "buds" can be induced to appear on dendrite fibers as a function of applied repeated electrical stimulus. The electrical charges, or voltage patterns, as they are conducted and exchanged from one ganglion group to the next, is partially due to the voltage controlled membranes surrounding each dendrite, which regulates the permeation of the sodium ions entering or exiting the dendrite fibers. What this suggests to some theoreticians is the possibility of creating a series of molecular scale nanite components which can "latch onto" the dendrite receptor/transmitter sites, and enhance this voltage controlled response process. In other words, injectable artificial nano components which, when residing in the human brain, actually modify human behavior, memory retention, and complex mental processing abilities.

Synthetic Antibodies

High on the list of researchers who are concerned with combating diseases which attack the immune system, such as AIDS, but also in the arena of military response tobiological warfare which are created to contrive human immune system failure,synthetic antibodiesare seen as a viable, enrineerable option.
For years, researchers, scientists, and indeed philosophers have grappled with the ambiguous task of exploring the physiological version of applied "artificial lifeforms", and all of its ramifications. Independant, autonomous "organisms" constructed from synthetically engineered molecular components and subsystems is yet another domain where nanobiology begins to offer potential solutions to medical researchers, and molecular "biobot" system designers.
Here, a synthetic antibody "device", constructed with an artificial form of molecular polymer referred to as dendrimers, is about to engage an "enemy" virus which it has determined should be neutralized before it can establish contact with a potential host cell it would otherwise victimize.

Stationary synthetic antibody

A stationary synthetic antibody is lodged on a cell wall, as a type of molecular scale protectionay device, ready to neutralize and engulf, if necessary, in intruding alien virus.

The included imgages are computer generated 3D renderings of nanocomponents and related molecular scale subsystems, created by the author as a visualization of various implementations of such molecular substructures and their interactive symbiotic components.

Charles Ostman - Senior Fellow, Institute for Global Futures

This is a small sample of an ongoing project, the goal of which is to harness the synergistically interrelated potential of technologies and industrial processes, which are seen by many as residing in the future, but are already here in the present. For more information on the author's thematic trajectories and activities in this and related arenas, you are invited to visit Charles Ostman

The world, as we currently know it to be, what it will become . . . the convergence, the "test", and beyond . . .Strategic Synergist - At the forefront of evolving technologies.

If interested in strategic research and alliancing, technology related applications development, reports and analysis , or simply a furthering of one's personal knowledge base of the business, and socio-economic implications of these emmerging technologies and their potential applications, you are invited to visit the Institute for Global Futures

--- Charles Ostman - Senior Fellow ---

Read Charles Ostman's views, technical analysis, and perspectives of the nanoworld of the present and near future in the book CyberLife! - ISBN 0-672-30491-0 Nanotechnology, the next Revolution . . . the NanoFuture . . . of NanoComputing, Molecules, and Photons . . . Strange Molecules with Special Properties . . . MicroMachines, Nanotech, and Processes Available Today . . . Biomechanics in the Nanorealm . . . What are the Goals, and How do We Get There? additional info about Charles Ostman

Nanotech Science Advisory Board


The "Brain of Charles" . . .


The "Brain of Charles" - this "virtual brain" was created by the author by raytracing the volumetric data of a 3D scanned brain, which was subsequently surface mapped with a custom developed procedural texturing routine. The topology in the background is actually the result of a chunk of calcite which was also scanned in with the Cyberware 3D scanning system, and then also surface mapped with a procedural texturing routine. This entire scene, complete with the metallic probe entering the lower right corner of the "brain entity", was rendered as part of the scene art featured in the article written by the author for Mondo 2000 magazine, on the topic of current and near future mind-machine interface technology. For further exploration into this, and other such realms, and beyond, please visit the Mondo 2000 website (see below)

Enter the Entity . . . from the virtual beyond . . . I surrender my belief barrier, enraptured


Charles Ostman

Evolved Art - Portals into the Virtual Terraform . . . Charles flourishing with his recent "spawnings" at the Anon Salon

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Resources And Insight . . . . . . for the Entrpreneurial Engineer Midnight EngineeringExample articles from previous issues . . . > Goals of Nanotechnology > Enter the Next Revolution > Shape Changing Alloys



Where Art and Technology Come Together Fine art on various media, virtual and real "entities", environments, custom applications and technology development for the "discovery" of asthetic content . . . Berkeley Designs



Artificial Life flourishing on the Virtual Terraform . . . Enter online, see it "live" at SigGraph 97! Digital Biota Project



Contact . . . at the Contact Consortium Enter the portal to myriad virtual terraforms, worlds, universes, and the technologies and people who make them possible Contact Consortium



Special thanks to Bruce Damer and DigitalSpace Corp. Helping to pioneer the exploration and development of life on the virtual terraform . . . DigitalSpace