bbenzai at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 10 08:42:24 UTC 2014
Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 2:55 PM, Tara Maya <tara at taramayastales.com>
>> I can't help but think of Futurama's Heads in Jars.
>### Let's think about it! You need the following components, all of them
>only about 20% of regular human size or less:
>1. Heart - can be impeller-driven, already available,
>2. Lung - could be grown from a 3D printed scaffold, small rodent size
>alpha release versions already available. Could use donor tissue, a small
>bit of lung would be enough
>3. Liver - can be definitely grown in the lab
>4. Kidney - not yet grown but could use a small bit of donor kidney
>5. Hematopoietic tissue - doable, maybe could induce hematopoiesis in the
>liver or even skull marrow
>6. Vascular system - doable today, can be 3D printed and seeded
>7. Various endocrine tissues - bits of endocrine pancreas, adrenals, could
>use donor tissue
>We dispense with GI tract, GU organs except kidney, skeleton, muscle.
>block items 1 - 7 in a compact unit, pump purified air in, have a
>continuous IV nutrient feed, continuous urine and bile removal (no bladder
>or gallbladder). The whole unit sown to the head vascular supply, with no
>other connections to it - so it's easy to cut it off and attach a new one.
>The neck stump completely covered with skin with only vascular access port
>and maybe a sterile air port for speech generation. Both life support unit
>and head in a sterile enclosure, so the immune system can wiped out
>can have a unit made from multiple donor tissues without immunosuppressive
>drugs. I would keep the upper spinal cord attached and the brachial plexus
>nerves grafted to neck muscles for trophic support. Motor commands and
>sensory input could be routed through these nerves. All this mounted on a
>Running costs would not be extreme, IV nutrition is a commodity item,
>would be no need for continuous supply of any human-derived products, no
>complex external devices (dialysis, artificial liver, artificial
>oxygenation), only an air pump with filter, power to the heart. No nursing
>costs, although cleaning the head might have to be done occasionally. The
>trolley would have prosthetic arms to allow the user to self-service and
>generally get stuff done. I would remove hair with laser, so there
>no need for haircuts. One donorcycle body could supply organs for maybe as
>many as 10 jarheads.
>This could be technically doable in the not-too-distant future. The main
>limitation would be dementia in the head, but if the donor tissues were
>young heterochronic - who knows how long the brain could potter along.
Adrian Tymes <atymes at gmail.com> added:
>What about hormone glands? Wouldn't you need to replicate them as well?
Yes. Hormones are important for keeping the brain happy!
Let's take the idea a bit further: Instead of a head in a jar, why not
a brain in a 'jar' or rather a sealed, armoured container with
connections to the cardiovascular, lymphatic and nervous networks,
housed in a robotic body that also contains the life-support biological
parts, sense organs, a set of control systems, and a bunch of new organs
to replace the ancillary functions of the original parts that have been
eliminated (eg. bone doesn't just support your weight, it also acts as a
reservior of calcium and phosphorus, lungs play a part in blood-pressure
Perhaps it would be possible to create something like the avatars in the
film 'Surrogates', but with the difference that they contain the brain
and a set of essential biological organs keeping it alive?
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