To Be a Cyborg, You're Going to Need Some Medical Gel
The human body is a marvel, but it’s not perfect. There can be a defect, things can break, and illness can strike with little or no warning.
If we could augment ourselves with electronics, we might be able to solve some of these problems. But such devices have traditionally presented issues of their own: They're often hard, rigid pieces of silicon and plastic. The body doesn’t react well to them, and they don’t work well inside you.
A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology may have hit upon a solution. They’ve developed a new form of hydrogel—a water-based polymer that can look and feel like muscles and tendons. Such a gel could contain tiny electronics that can monitor our insides, deliver medicine, or provide needed electrical stimulus. Since the hydrogel is flexible, it can bend and twist without breaking or tearing. And because much of our body is made from similar materials, there’s little chance we would reject the material as a foreign object.
We’re still some years away from Food and Drug Administration approval, but should that happen, this new breed of hydrogel may prove to be the foundation upon which an entirely new class of medical devices is built. And yes, the cyborg will be born.