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Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category: Page 100

Sep 21, 2015

The First Man-Made Biological Leaf Turns Light and Water Into Oxygen

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, space travel

If humanity hopes to realize its dreams of exploring the stars, we’re going to need to find ways to recreate life on Earth aboard a spaceship. Simply stockpiling enough vital supplies isn’t going to cut it, which is what led Julian Melchiorri, a student at the Royal College of Art, to create an artificial biological leaf that produces oxygen just like the ones on our home planet do.

The problem with using natural foliage on our interstellar explorations is that plants may not flourish in zero gravity as much as we’d need them to. But since they’re a better way to produce oxygen than simply trying to carry countless tanks full of O2, Melchiorri wanted to engineer a better alternative that would easy survive the rigors of space travel.

The First Man-Made Biological Leaf Turns Light and Water Into Oxygen

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Sep 15, 2015

The Imminence of Transhuman Technologies

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, ethics, existential risks, genetics, health, innovation, neuroscience

Progress always seems to ride a slippery slope. Innovations generally bring a plethora of potential benefits and just as many dangers, the obvious and the hidden. Technologies that tamper with our biological constructs is well underway in the neuro- and biotech industries. Historically, innovations in medicine have usually been beneficial on the aggregate.

But these new breakthroughs go beyond preventing and healing pre-existing causes. Transhuman technologies hold the promise of enhancing who we are as individuals and potentially as an entire species, and the decisions surrounding these technologies are far from simple. Dr. Nayef Al-Rodhan, a philosopher, neuroscientist, and director of the Geneva Center for Security Policy, believes we should be acting now to prepare for the inevitable and the unpredictable ramifications.

Framing Human Motivation

Considering our mixed track record as a species in rolling out groundbreaking innovations, discussing and finding potential solutions to many of the hidden dangers, and obvious ones, seems more than reasonable. One of the more puzzling questions is, where do we begin to have a pragmatic conversation on the ethics of these technologies?

There are plenty of theories about what drive human decisions, not least because human morality is infinitely complex and our minds crave frames through which to make sense of chaos. Dr. Al-Rodhan has his own conception of what drives human motivations. He makes meaning using the lens of “5 P’s” – Power, Pride, Profit, Pleasure, and Permanence – which he posits drive human motivations. “This is my view, the foundation of my outlook…this perceived emotion of self interest drives our moral compass.”

Continue reading “The Imminence of Transhuman Technologies” »

Sep 10, 2015

Transhumanists are on a quest to discover eternal life. Is the citizen science they use the future of technology?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, life extension, transhumanism

Interesting article in The Telegraph on biohacking and recent Grindfest, where the Immortality Bus stopped:


Immortality aside, DIY “bio-hacking” could provide solutions to everyday problems, despite the risks involved.

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Sep 8, 2015

Gene Editing Is Now Cheap and Easy—and No One Is Prepared for the Consequences

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

In April 2015, a paper by Chinese scientists about their attempts to edit the DNA of a human embryo rocked the scientific world and set off a furious debate. Leading scientists warned that altering the human germ line without studying the consequences could have horrific consequences. Geneticists with good intentions could mistakenly engineer changes in DNA that generate dangerous mutations and cause painful deaths. Scientists — and countries — with less noble intentions could again try to build a race of superhumans.

Human DNA is, however, merely one of many commercial targets of ethical concern. The DNA of every single organism — every plant, every animal, every bacterium — is now fair game for genetic manipulation. We are entering an age of backyard synthetic biology that should worry everybody. And it is coming about because of CRISPRs: clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.

Discovered by scientists only a few years ago, CRISPRs are elements of an ancient system that protects bacteria and other single-celled organisms from viruses, acquiring immunity to them by incorporating genetic elements from the virus invaders. CRISPRs evolved over millions of years to trim pieces of genetic information from one genome and insert it into another. And this bacterial antiviral defense serves as an astonishingly cheap, simple, elegant way to quickly edit the DNA of any organism in the lab.

Continue reading “Gene Editing Is Now Cheap and Easy—and No One Is Prepared for the Consequences” »

Aug 19, 2015

MitoSENS Mitochondrial Repair Project

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, life extension

Lifespan.io is running a SENS fundraiser to aid research into Mitochondrial repair. This is a new fundraiser platform to help get important regenerative medicine research funded and underway. Let us hope this is the start of how research could be funded and that it opens up faster progress.


Engineering backup copies of mitochondrial genes to place in the nucleus of the cell, aiming to prevent age-related damage and restore lost mitochondrial function.

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Aug 18, 2015

What Is Synthetic Biology?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, evolution

Synthetic biology is radical and has huge potential to revolutionize multiple industries. The fact is biology has already worked out efficient ways of doing things, or has in place mechanisms we can adapt, so why reinvent anything if we can simply adapt what’s already here? Using billions of years of evolution makes logical sense, and that’s what synthetic biology builds on.

So here is a great video by Grist, explaining what synthetic biology is and what we might be able to do with it in the future.

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Aug 12, 2015

What is biohacking? — By What’s Tech | The Verge

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, transhumanism

“We have a few cyborgs on staff. Ben Popper is arguably the reporter best known for peeling back his skin to insert a piece of technology, which he chronicled in his feature, Cyborg America. But others have gone under the knife. I wanted to know why. You know, because I have crippling FOMO.”

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Aug 8, 2015

Move over, autonomous AI weapons, there’s a new risk in town: ‘gene drives’

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, robotics/AI

Wyss Institute scientists believe that synthetic gene drives, if researched responsibly, might be used in the future to render mosquito populations unable to transmit malaria (credit: CDC)

An international group of 26 experts, including prominent genetic engineers and fruit fly geneticists, has unanimously recommended a series of preemptive measures to safeguard gene drive research from accidental (or intentional) release from laboratories.

RNA-guided gene drives are genetic elements — found naturally in the genomes of most of the world’s organisms — that increase the chance of the gene they carry being passed on to all offspring. So they can quickly spread through populations if not controlled.

Continue reading “Move over, autonomous AI weapons, there’s a new risk in town: ‘gene drives’” »

Aug 4, 2015

Millennium Project releases ’2015–16 State of the Future’ report

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, economics, energy, health, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

The Millennium Project released today its annual “2015–16 State of the Future” report, listing global trends on 28 indicators of progress and regress, new insights into 15 Global Challenges, and impacts of artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, nanotechnology and other advanced technologies on employment over the next 35 years.

“Another 2.3 billion people are expected to be added to the planet in just 35 years,” the report notes. “By 2050, new systems for food, water, energy, education, health, economics, and global governance will be needed to prevent massive and complex human and environmental disasters.”

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Jul 13, 2015

Interconnected Rat Brains Create Organic Computer

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, bionic, biotech/medical, computing, neuroscience

Linked rat brains

Scientists have been experimenting with brain-to-brain interfaces for years. Miguel Nicolelis, a neurobiologist at Duke University Medical Center, has created a “Brainet” or a network of interconnected brains with four rats. With electrodes implanted directly in the cortex rodents exchange information to create an organic computing device. Collectively, they were able to solve computational problems including image processing, storing and recalling information and even predicting precipitation.

Read the full story by Mona Lalwani at Engadget

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