When we think about the future, we tend to think of flying cars or holograms - not nanotechnology benefitting cryonics. However, this type of technology could revolutionise our world beyond what we can possibly imagine right now.
A large part of the potential success of cryonics will rely on cellular repair technology. However, in order to perform any sort of repairs on our cells, we must understand and manipulate their most basic components: atoms and molecules. This is where nanotechnology comes in.
Imagine being able to control molecules that can direct individual cells or operate machinery that is one billionth of a metre in size. Nanotechnology could allow us to do just that.
While the possibilities may seem hard to grasp, there is plenty of scientific research suggesting that we are on the brink of serious technological breakthroughs. This article will cover how nanotechnology could develop cell repair technology and change our collective future.
The theory behind nanotechnology was first conceptualised in 1959 by US researcher Richard P. Feynman. He was the first person to talk about manipulating minuscule objects in order to strengthen or repair them. The idea remained largely dormant until K. Eric Drexler’s 1986 book Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology initiated a more serious scientific discussion about the possibilities of such a science. Here the term ‘Nanotechnology’ or ‘Molecular Technology’ was first used.
Nanotechnology is the science that deals with the design, synthesis, characterization, and application of materials and devices that are on the nanometer scale. At such a scale, tiny changes to individual cells can alter their entire structure.
It’s also a multidisciplinary science that combines elements from biology, chemistry and physics, and has gained widespread popularity for its revolutionary concepts that it could enable. One such possibility is molecular nanotechnology (MNT) that could help in the medical field to treat disease.
MNT is an advanced form of nanotechnology that scientists are striving to understand and control. The principle of it is to be able to manoeuvre things atom by atom to create something else entirely. That means that we would be able to make, repair, or regenerate anything within the body.
While we do not currently have the capabilities to do this, it is not inconceivable that MNT will eventually be possible. But how would this help with cellular repair?
There is an ongoing field of study dedicated to developing nanotechnology in medicine called nanomedicine. While it is still in its infancy, the hope is that medicine will benefit enormously from advances in MNT.
As our understanding of this technology improves, our knowledge of the basis of disease will improve too. We will be able to understand the ways in which molecules in the body respond to disease, and thus be able to counteract its effects. This will bring about more sophisticated diagnoses, and yield more effective and preventative therapies.
Once doctors have access to nanotechnology, they could be able to treat and cure most diseases that hinder people today. This can be achieved by producing nanobots that are capable of cellular repair. These minute creations would be placed inside the body, and would be able to locate and treat damaged cells.
No longer would major surgery be required if and when remote controlled nanodevices capable of repairing or regenerating tissue are widely available. Doctors would also be able to treat most physical injuries, and thus greatly increase longevity. MNT has the potential to be at the core of all future medical treatments.
Simply put, nanotechnology could make revival of cryopreserved patients possible.
Currently, we are unable to revive patients once they have been cryopreserved due to a multitude of challenges of revival. With modern medicine and technology, we cannot treat their cause of death, nor can we reverse the effects of cryoprotectants. However, if we master cellular repair, regeneration and synthesis, the current difficulties we face with cryopreservation would be possible to overcome. The potential benefits include:
It’s clear that the benefits to the cryonics industry would be enormous. So seismic in fact, that K. Eric Drexler, the man to first coin the term nanotechnology, has signed up to be cryopreserved upon legal death. His confidence and belief in the prospects of nanotechnology should give all of us hope that the future we imagine is far more tangible than it appears.
We can be optimistic about the possibilities that nanotechnology could open up for us, but we don’t know exactly when they will become readily available.
Currently, there is ongoing research that suggests nanotechnology could help us better manage epidemics in the future, and more use-cases will certainly be discovered over time.
Until the time for advanced nanotechnology comes, cryonics is the only way to give yourself the chance of benefiting from these advancements.
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