Using nanotechnology, researchers have taken the first steps towards creating a fully functioning, artificial kidneys.
As Nissenson told Reuters Health, “a connection to the bloodstream is necessary, which allows blood to flow into the device. In the device, it is filtered and processed by the membranes, with waste and water being discharged into a bag — the external bladder — to be discarded, and important substances like salt, calcium, and nutrients returned to the body.” In its final form, the device would operate continuously, imitating natural kidneys. No dialysis solution is used.
Using computer modeling, the researchers found that the device, operating 12 hours per day, seven days per week, actually provides a greater filtering rate than conventional dialysis given three times a week.
That’s damn good news for people with kidney problems.
Furthermore, this is actually quite a fascinating development.
Why, you ask?
First it’s kidneys. What’s next? If we can build artificial kidneys and wombs, why not build artificial replacements for the rest of our organs?
At first, these artificial organs will be used to replace our broken ones. But then… the artificial organs will start reaching a level of functionality that surpasses the functionality or our own organs.
The birth of bionic man. Or Human Body Version 2.0 as Ray Kurzweil so eloquently puts it.
We will become cyborgs.
The possibilities include:
- Replacement vascular system: programmable blood (respirocytes, read about them on the web), no more failure-prone heart necessary.
- Upgraded digestive system: eat whatever you like, never get fat, stay healthier with less maintance (and by that I mean healthfood and exercise)
- Stronger skeleton, allowing us to survive carcrashes and other accidents more easily.
And I’m sure there are lots more things to be upgraded about our bodies, but you get the picture.
Prepare for a wild ride.