back to article Harvard boffins build cyborg skin of flesh and nanowires

Humanity has taken another step down the path of the Borg with the invention of the first flesh containing a functional nanowire sensor network that's biocompatible with the human body. "With this technology, for the first time, we can work at the same scale as the unit of biological system without interrupting it," team …


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  1. nuked

    I wonder...

    ... whether the futuristic ideas in our Sci-Fi films in the past 20 years come from sound and educated predictions of future tech;

    Or whether our future tech ideas are influenced and inspired by the Sci-Fi films watched by tech grads as kids, in the past 20 years?

    1. James 100

      Re: I wonder...

      A bit of both, I'm sure. It's easy enough to use a mobile phone like I did in the 80s, with a shoulder strap to support the weight of the hefty lead-acid battery, and imagine one day cramming it into a tiny fraction of the size - even though it took another decade to achieve.

      Sci-fi authors, essentially, ask 'what would be useful, regardless of technical feasibility?' The designers are asking the same question, but with the extra constraint. Self-driving cars, cloned transplant organs on demand, robot surgeons; sci-fi has had them for decades, because they would be useful if they existed; researchers try to create them, because they will be useful when they really do exist.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data will be pleased.

  3. Mako

    "It might also lead to the creation of an army of cyborg warriors to destroy mankind,"

    A pessimist might think that, yes. But an optimist would think, "Interactive sexbots!!!"

    1. Mr Grumblefish

      Whereas I

      would think " interactive sexbot warriors which will destroy mankind while mankind really enjoys it".

  4. jungle_jim

    Negotiation is irrelevant.

    You will be assimilated

    1. dssf

      Re: Negotiation is irrelevant.

      And, if people with nano-spinctres have explosions down there, they will be...


  5. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

    Skin of flesh and nanowires

    "skin of flesh and nanowires"? What good is that? Can you point such a finger at a guy drinking orange juice from a carton and pin him to the wall?

    I thought not...

    1. Ru

      Re: Skin of flesh and nanowires

      If you've got time travelling shape shifting killing machines and the best way you can think of to kill people is to stab them like it is 1412 then you've got some serious issues of imagination.

      Also, the T-1000 was just a robot. No meatbag cybernetics there.

      1. Wize

        Re: Skin of flesh and nanowires

        It annoyed me when Arnie said the T2 couldn't do guns due to their chemical reactions to fire.

        Why not make your arm into the barrel and stuff a bullet clip in your mouth?

        1. Tom Chiverton 1

          Re: Skin of flesh and nanowires

          "The T1000 is unable to create complex shapes"

          Did you not see the film?

          1. Graham Bartlett

            Re: Skin of flesh and nanowires

            So a tube (gun barrel) is a complex shape...? Not really.

            And whilst chemical reactions might be no use, there's nothing in the film premise that rules out a gauss gun. Hell, if you wanted to go lower-tech then a crossbow mechanism would work perfectly well. Maybe the T1000 would be unable to do it, but an Arnie-type one could easily have this built in.

            1. dssf

              Re: Skin of flesh and nanowires

              Yeh, a T 2500 Archer Series... Kill humans in the past, using retrievable crossbows.

              Better yet, why not a T2775 BoomerAng Series... Kill humans by redirectable, retrievable, reincorporable boomerang. Not very complex, either. Just needs speed, sharp edges, and flight control flaps....

            2. Mephistro

              Re: Skin of flesh and nanowires

              " there's nothing in the film premise that rules out a gauss gun"

              Not in T2, but in T3 the effects a syncroton in the robot girl seem to oppose that possibility

  6. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Wrong perspective

    This could equally be used to create an army of human warriors to destroy the cyborgs.

    Most of what *I* regard as "human" is cultural and intellectual, so I'm not too fussed about the hardware platform. In a thousand years' time, we'll all be mostly artificial and we'll still call ourselves humanity and still claim a direct line of descent "out of Africa".

    If 17th century Europeans could have seen what modern society looks like, they'd conclude that we'd sold our souls to Satan and fornicated our merry way to hell in a hand-cart. We, however, take pride in having progressed from such backward ideals and actually increased our "humanity" in the process.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Wrong perspective

      "If 17th century Europeans could have seen what modern society looks like, they'd conclude that we'd sold our souls to Satan"

      Hmm, I reckon the torture machines in the museums must be a fairly recent addition then?

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Wrong perspective

        No, that's forward planning.

        If 17th Century Europeans ever do get to see what modern society looks like, they'll have all the necessary tools for dealing with those who have sold their souls to Satan readily to hand.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: the torture machines

        "I reckon the torture machines in the museums must be a fairly recent addition then?"

        Not at all. That's my point. From the point of view of an orthodox 17th century European human, torturing the mortal flesh of a sinner was not just permissible but probably *necessary*. If you didn't at least *try* to save the poor wretch's soul then you were as bad as those Levites in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

        Our android descendants will view us in the same way that we view witch-hunters, I'm sure, but equally will regard themselves as the lawful inheritors of the term "human".

  7. Graham Marsden


    "The 600 series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy, but these are new. They look human - sweat, bad breath, everything. Very hard to spot. I had to wait till he moved on you before I could zero him."

  8. Patrick R

    Merging tissue with electronics

    So no need for it to be "attached to their heads" anymore.

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