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Biotech Medicine Build

3D Bioprinters Could Make Enhanced, Electricity-Generating 'Superorgans' 69

New submitter meghan elizabeth (3689911) writes Why stop at just mimicking biology when you can biomanufacture technologically improved humans? 3D-printed enhanced "superorgans"—or artificial ones that don't exist in nature—could be engineered to perform specific functions beyond what exists in nature, like treating disease. Already, a bioprinted artificial pancreas that can regulate glucose levels in diabetes patients is being developed. Bioprinting could also be used to create an enhanced organ that can generate electricity to power electronic implants, like pacemakers.
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3D Bioprinters Could Make Enhanced, Electricity-Generating 'Superorgans'

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  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @01:01AM (#47234979) Journal

    Internet rule 34. 'Nuff said.

    • by sjwt ( 161428 ) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @03:01AM (#47235191)

      Its not all about sex, the best part is this brings new meaning to the phrase 'My battery just died'

  • And some of these over-enthusiastic ramblings may even come true. But not much earlier than that.

  • by Anonymous Coward hooking a little mechanical dynamo to the heart, so that a little bit of the power from each heartbeat would go into triggering the next one.

    • That might help to regulate a heartbeat, but it would take energy away from the heart that could be used to pump blood. If the heart is weak in the first place, then I'm not sure you'd want to to tax it further by making it power its own pacemaker. Better to power the pacemaker by some other bio-electrical source, such as the electricity-generating artificial organ described in TFA.

      Then again, if we can just print someone a new "super-heart" then sure, put a dynamo in it and make it power whatever you wan

  • If they really knew what they were trying to build it would be a multiply redundant liver with wireless charging pad.

    • by dbc ( 135354 )

      Soooo.... turn the liver into an alcohol powered fuel cell? So the only way your phone has enough charge to send a text is if you are drunk on your @ss? Do you really want to live in a world like that?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why yes, yes i do.

  • First Biomachines (Score:4, Insightful)

    by John.Banister ( 1291556 ) * on Saturday June 14, 2014 @01:58AM (#47235081) Homepage
    I can see them having success with biological machines that replace more cumbersome mechanical machines. I can even see them producing special purpose machines, like something that processes blood alcohol and takes some of the stress from over consumption off of the liver. But replacing undamaged organs with "superorgans" will take a while as people learn what isn't now known about the complexity of the systems in which organs interact. By the time they get there they might end up with distributed organs made of groups of self replicating nano sized biomachines and we'll have to be scared of a whole new class of viruses.
    • Organs that generate power as a bonus sounds good. But somehow we would end up with people who get a short and have an internal fire or electrocute themselves. Really I think a lot of these types of operations could do wonderful things but the great barrier might be in most people fearing a surgical cut or scar. It is rather like the legacy of fear in dentistry. People still dread the dentist yet the procedures are not unpleasant these days. We must only live in fear of the bill when we check
      • Dental procedures are not unpleasant these days? Can I move to your universe?
        • Unpleasantness is relative. Have you watched Saturday night TV recently? At least when I had my wisdom teeth out there was a sense of relief at the end; the same cannot be said for something like Britain's Got Talent.
    • I was thinking about the body's first line of defense, the Skin.
    • I can even see them producing special purpose machines, like something that processes blood alcohol and takes some of the stress from over consumption off of the liver.

      Or a specialized organ that detects high blood sugar and converts it to alcohol! Uh, for diabetics, of course.

  • I want a super kidney that's so powerful, it can even filter out duplicate posts on slashdot!
  • Anyone else read today's titles as?

    3D Bioprinters Could Make Enhanced, Electricity-Generated 'Superorgazms'

    Amaya Gaming Buys PornStars and Full Tits Poker For $4.9 Billion

  • by Eddi3 ( 1046882 ) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @02:39AM (#47235161) Homepage Journal
    This sounds great, but unfortunately from TFA:

    "Demonstration of a mini organ model lighting a bulb might be feasible in five years. But developing the technology for transplantation, hooking that up to the blood stream, connecting and synchronizing it with a heart with failed AV node will take much longer." Long enough that we probably wonâ(TM)t be enjoying superhuman organs in our lifetimes. Bioprinted "self-powered humanâ parts that generate electricity are at least 100 years off, Ozbolat said.

    • It's always good to be skeptical of anyone saying some new bit of technology is only five years away from being useful... but people saying some bit of technology will take "at least 100 years" should be outright ignored. No one can predict that far in the future when it comes to technology. The NEXT technological breakthrough in a series is nearly impossible to predict a decade in advance. Calling a STRING of breakthroughs like that is dumber than tarot cards. Think about the conservative predictions i
  • I'd think one good use for such biological machines would be as super-filters - organs that could scrub the blood of excess cholesterol and other lipids as well as various toxins we haven't evolved to efficiently process.

    I, for one, welcome our new bioprinted organs that keep my arteries clean as a whistle...

  • What could go possibly wrong. First, you need the organism to not attack and destroy the "organ" so here you need a lifetime of immuno-suppressing treatment, maybe a weak to fake or include the bio-markers (dunno the exact english term) so the new organ can be recognized as legit. And then if that really works out, then how will the organ stay constrained rather than grow anarchically and without limits? Mutations?

    A great concept that seems to be science-fiction. If not impossible then I suppose the difficu

    • How do our normal organs keep from gworing anarchically and without limits? They'd presumably try to use the same mechanism for their new organs. As for the immune system, perhaps they could base the organs off the recipient's DNA (such as through stem cells), which would make rejection less likely. It'd be expensive as hell, though. I do agree that we'll take some time getting there.

      Another interesting question would be that of failure modes. What happens if your fancy new electric pancreas gets infected
  • I mean, on the one hand we're facing the infinite power of bio-augmentation but on the other hand we'd be facing a future full of people who have to wear sunglasses because their vision is augmented, not to mention a transitory period where everyone is hooked on anti-rejection drugs except for a few guys who didn't ask for augs anyway. And things go badly we might end up with a near-omnipotent guy in the antarctic presiding over a world full of forgettable characters and crummy gameplay. What a shame that'd
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Finally we can get rid of these atrociously developed Heart1s.
    Seriously, what was the designer thinking by putting in such a silly ruleset for its operation?

    2 billion beats? Terrible. Say hello to Heart2, 10 billion beats guaranteed or your money back!

  • Cops with genetically enhanced with electric eels cells in their hands for permanent tasing ability.

  • by Tekoneiric ( 590239 ) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @07:15AM (#47235607) Journal
    I'd like to see an artificial organ developed that would directly convert excess blood sugar into electricity to charge electronics or for built in electric shock organs in the hands. It would turn being diabetic into an asset. You could charge up on sweets.

    It could also be used to burn off the excess sugar as bio-luminescence to be the life of the party.
    • It could also be used to burn off the excess sugar as bio-luminescence to be the light of the party.

      Sorry, the joke had to be made.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @07:24AM (#47235629) Journal

    I already know which enhanced, electricity-generating superorgan I want.

  • Agent Smith would be so proud.

  • This would probably be a better fix to our arithmetic deficiencies than an implanted chip. Someone should inform DARPA that this would be useful in combat, for example in calculating trajectories and eliminating the need for watches and allowing for more complex and coordinated maneuvers. This way it might get done in my lifetime.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith