Computer Graphics Peers Into the Next Revolution in Medicine - Nanobiology Synthetic lifeforms, cloned and manufactured organisms, biobots . . . these are no longer fiction, but real.

What appears to be the future for many is already the past for some, who are now unfolding it into the present

about Charles Ostman

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"Strategic Synergist" - Research, trend analysis and forecasting, advanced technology development, author, lecturer

Nanobiology - Where Nanotechnology and Biology Come Together

The first examples of quasi-viral component molecular "devices" (synthetically engineered viral "entities") utilized for delivery of molecular protein components to specifically targeted cells are already in development. Synthetic organisms and biobots, quasi-viral components and engineered microbes as molecular scale medical "devices"; these are just a few of the technologies residing at the beginning edge of a new domain of development which redefines the very essense of what is traditionally referred to as "medicine".

Welcome to the new frontier of nanobiology.

Computer Graphics and Visualization Techniques meet a New Challenge Perhaps no greater challenge has ever been presented to a more diverse range of particpants in an arena of development. Indeed, the topic of nanobiology is, in fact, not a singular "science" or technical discipline at all, but rather a concept, as fundamental as life itself, and will eventually affect what can even be described as life, as it is currently defined. And yet, it is the very nature of such a complex and diverse arena of development which is precisely what the latest genre' of computer visualization graphics techniques, incorporating the combination of complex molecular modelling, volumetric topographical scanning of biomolecular and subcellular objects, and 3D rendering and visuallization techniques that enables such a rapidly developing technology domain.

Simultaneously, the dramatic improvements in cost/performance ratios of 3D rendering technologies, both hardware platforms and the software which runs on them (see Computer Graphics World Oct 1997 issue) have become so affordable and accessable that 3D visualization techniques which would have seemed extremely costly or "exotic" a few years ago, have become essentially ubiquitous in almost all arenas of science, technology, and business. It is at this juncture, at the convergence of fields as diverse as biophysics, applied nanotechnology, genetics, computer science, and myriad other fields of endeavor, where can be found the common metaphor which facilitates their mutually shared research objectives, via the "lens" of current and near future developments in computer generated graphics and visualization techniques.

Quasi-viral components, engineered molecular protein delivery "devices", etc . . .


Molecular protein delivery to targeted, specific cell types is currently being investigated as a potential method for instigating physiological "adjustment" or modifications within living cells. In this context, protein can be viewed as being the functional equvilant of "software" which instructs the activities of biomolecular mechanisms within the cell, somewhat in the same way that machine code instructs computer processor chips to perform various functions. Among many such examples of this process being currently studied, is the utilization of the P53 protein, which can act like a "switch" to literally shut down the metabolism of a living cell. This has extraordinary potential, for instance, as a possible cure for various forms of cancer, in that the cancer cells have a genetic identity different than the original cell types from which they were "hosted", and therefore can be "targeted" for delivery of this P53 protein.
A quasi-viral componenteither composed from an engineered "viral entity", or from a completely synthetic nanoscale molecular construction , composed of pseudo-proteins such as dendrimers can be potentially used as molecular "delivery vessels", for targeting and entering specific cells to dispense the appropriate "instructional" protein. 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.
The development trajectory being pursued by a plethora of academic and even commercial participants in a newly emmerging arena of nanobiology, in which the molecular components of living organisms can be "dissasembled" and reconstructed to cerate viral-like entities capable of delivering bits of protein, as a form of molecular software, to living cells for the purpose of allowing the targeted cells to "repair" themselves.

Synthetic Neural Dendrites, QuasiViral Components, Integrated BioChips, Molecular Scale Biobot "Devices", - Medicine and Nanotechnology Converge in the World of NanoBiology

The paradigm of the near future (and even today, in some arenas of development) will be biomedical "systems" which are reconstructed or "assembled" from biomolecular components, and mimic the physiology of living organisms in their operational and behavioral characteristics. As a solution to a highly diverse range of medical conditions, to which the only treatment has been the delivery of drugs or physiologically altering treatments of chemicals or radiation, this is the beginning edge of a radical new design concept.

Molecular "Nanites", Leggos, myriad Self-Assembling, Self-Organizing Xenomrophic Entities flourishing in "NanoWorld"

Peer Into the Strange and Fantastic NanoWorlds of Charles Ostman. Come in and visit the 3D virtual nanoworlds that Charles Ostman has developed as part of his quest to model and visualize the myriad possibilities that the nanotech of the near future may offer. Molecular machines, self assembling "nano lego" components, nanobots and nanocritters, pseudo proteins, quasi viral components, "artificial" organisms, ubiquitous nano "foglettes" . . . . this may only be the beginning

Even a few short years ago, technologies such asAFM (atomic force microscopy), would have been either unheard of, or far out of the reach of many researchers.

But this is merely the beginning edge of a newly emmerging technology domain from which the very definition of life itself may be perched at the edge of the next great revolution in medicine - nanobiology. What is emmerging now are technologies and applications in the arenas of biomolecular "components" integrated into microscale systems, implantable prosthetic biochip devices, synthetically engineered quasi-viral components, modified DNA and related pseudoproteins, biomolecular prosthetics, and biomolecular organelle component "entities". Technologies are currently in development which are intended to combine organic materials and substrates, micro and even nano scale systems as implantable "molecular prosthetics", and biomolecular "modification" strategies which will redefine the very essense of what is commonly referred to as "life".

Enter this world, and examine the contents of these renderings of nanoscale systems, intergrated circuitry combined with biomolecular components, and various bio-molecular "device" simulations which are being created as part of an ongoing project with the Institute for Global Futures, and other interested organizations. The very concept of what is currently referred to as "applied medicine" is on the verge of an extraordinary transformation. What is coming, for instance, are nanoscale molecular "devices" which are intended to enter living cells and facilitate their own ability modify and "repair" their internal physiological chemistries. And this is only the beginning . . . The newly emmerging frontier of Nanobiology represents the next great revolution in medicine

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

My ultimate focus is on the concept of nanotechnology representing the next great revolution, as an evolutionary threshold which will transform, but also test, the human civilization's capacity to adapt and evolve to this new realm. The substrate of socio-economic systems, valuation indices of commodities and currency systems, the status of industry base strata and their attendant distribution structures, which are already in a state of flux as this fabric is being drawn into the global connectivity grid, currently referred to as the internet, is only a precursory indicator of what the nanotechnology age is about to potentially create.

This entire genre' of development will evolve into an new socio-economic system substrate not conceivable by today's standards of reference. Various aspects of applied and theoretical nanotechnology, neural prosthesis and implantable interface devices, ubiqutous computing and process functionality domains as a virtual asset resource base accessable on the internet, the evolution of newly forming socio-economic substrate systems emminating from the "virtual terraform" . . . these are only a few of the key marker threshold points in an evolutionary event stream which are embedded into the existance matrices of the near future.

There is a state of change at hand, the rate and complexity of which is an acceleration vector never before experienced in human history. The relationships between rapidly evolving technologies, ever exapnding volumes and complexities of of information resources, and socio-economic system substrates are going to reshape almost every aspect of life as it is currently understood to be. To study the nuances and implications of this synergistic codependancy is to become an adaptable entity, capable of evolving and utilizing the tools embedded in this interactive, bi-directional experiential knowledge conveyance system which will be referred to here as the "media matrix".

Examine the details of this conceptual paradigm as a learning experience at the Multimedia Sudies Program, San Francisco State University, and as an ongoing media research and development program manifest in a variety of broadcast and published formats, and also via theInstitute for Global Futures (see below).

The Institute for Global Futures

The Institute for Global Futures is a strategic technologies research group which engages in trend analysis, technology development stream topology identification, and complex forecasting which examines synergistic thread linkages between various technologies and socio-economic systems. The activities of the institute include consulting services, strategic planning, reports, analysis, media programs, conferences, and strategic alliance building for a variety of global clients.

Complex new technologies are rapidly transforming markets, economies, and industries. The Institute for Global Futures was founded to promote the productive, sustainable, and strategic use of advanced leading edge technologies.

CyberLife - the Nanotechnology Revolution - online 

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 Charles Ostman - Nanotech
additional info Charles Ostman - Science Advisory Board

"Organomorph" This image was created by the morphing together of two 3D raytraced "virtual world" images, utilizing an artificial life routine to drive the control points in the morphing engine. Both of the virtual world images themselves are renderings of 3D artificial lifeforms, which were subsequently morphed together with an artificial lifeform driven process, hence the title, "organomorph".

Aesthetic Exploration in the Alternative Nature of the Virtual Terraform

Spawning entities, flourishing on the virtual terraform - I don't "draw" art, I grow it.Driven by a fascination with structure, form, and the mechanics of interactive forces as they occur in nature, the goal is to create scenes which are the results of compuational models based on these characteristics. Virtually all constructs observed in the nature of the "real world", such as the branching structures of trees, the construction of a leaf or flower, the distribution patterns of stars in a galaxy, pebbles on a beach, or even the wispy forms of a cloud, can be defined and replicated with a series of formulae and procedural algorithms.

Once these processes have been defined and established as a procedural set of rules, these rules can be modified or "distorted". There is a vast potential for asthetic exploration of synthetic environments which actually contain the dynamic elements of an evolving "organism" or ecosystem.

This is the real power of the computer, to be able to create structures and forms, as a process, utilizing interactive forces and influences, as they occur (or don't occur) in nature, to spawn the contents of a scene. It is in this way that "impossible" virtual worlds can be explored, ranging from chaotic events that defy the "ordinary" rules of nature, to the evolution of artificial life forms flourishing in synthetic environments.

As described in the excerpt from a paper titled "Virtual Reality as an Art Medium", is both the theory and application of utilizing the computer as a computational engine to create synthetic environments and quasi-organic entities flourishing in these virtual realms, as an alternative form of nature (both at the nano and "macro" scale). In this context, the computer can "discover" asthetic content as well as functional models of such domains, not unlike the way a photographer may "discover", and capture the asthetics of nature as it occurs in the "real" world. In this context, the computer can be utilized as a type of computational camera

The included imgages are computer generated 3D renderings of theoretical nanocomponents, created by the author as a visualization of possible implementations of such molecular substructures and interactive symbiotic components. These are a few examples from a much larger collection of rendered, theoretical nanosubcomponent systems, consisting of various "species" types with specific interactive and symbiotic properties.

pioneer the realms of other worlds
as an "art experience"

Rendered Imagery from Synthetic Environments, Evolving Entities, Alternative Universes, as Fine Art - Acrylic Paint on Canvas

This is how I actually see the universe, and as such, use a variety of technical tools and processes, combined with computational resources to allow "access" to other parallel universes. In the various shows and galleries these have appeared in, these renderings are usually presented either as numbered and signed dye sublimation prints, or as digitally applied archival quality acrylic paint on canvas. Please note the attatched image file, which is a photograph of a canvas example. Peer into the workshop, and "virtual gallery" of Berkeley Designs for a glimpse of the foundry from which these various experiments in evolving artforms are spawned, and proliferate.


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 Get your own Mondo 2000 website (see below)

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


Charles Ostman

Send e-mail to Charles Ostman


Visit the far frontier . . . Get your own Mondo 2000



Resources And Insight . . . . . . for the Entrpreneurial Engineer Midnight Engineering



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