Scientists appear to be edging us ever close to a real life William Gibson novel with a number of small steps towards cyborg technology.
One example of the fusion of electronic and human parts are the findings of an Indian team which has made steps towards a liquid memristor made from human blood.
The memristor, a passive device like a resistor that is able to change its resistance depending on the previous voltage applied, was created with a tube filled with human blood into which two electrodes were inserted.
The researchers found that the experimental memristor was able to show varied resistance due according to the range of voltage polarity and magnitude, with the memory effect lasting over five minutes.
Having been able to show that such an effect was successfully maintained when the blood was in the 10 millilitre tube, the team were also able to do the same while the blood was flowing.
The next step is to develop a microchannel version of the memristor and attempt to successfully integrate several at one time in order to carry out logic functions.
The researchers are also investigating a similar approach towards similar claret-based diodes and capacitors.
Meanwhile more cyborg creating antics have been occurring at the University of Michigan, where a team of scientists found that they were able to thread nerve cell tendrils through tiny semiconductor tubes.
Experiments were initially made on the nerve cells of mice, which the team found would voluntarily seek to grow down the semiconductor tubes, meaning that a seamless brain-computer interface could be possible in the future to integrate artificial limbs or, well, whatever else anyone would like attached to their arm or leg.
“They seem to like the tubes,” said one of the researchers, James Williams.
“Neurons left to their own devices will kind of glue on to one another or connect randomly to other cells, neither of which is a good model for how neurons work.”
Although we might have to wait slightly longer for full man machine hybrids said the researcher, stating that while it is “really cool engineering” what it means for neuroscience “remains to be seen”.
Of course there is plenty of exciting stuff going on in labs across the world that is more tangible already, such as a brain computer interface using EEG signals to allow paralysed patients to make music.