Scientists Want To Put Spiders In Your Blood

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Scientists Want To Put Spiders In Your Blood

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Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have developed self-directed, blood-borne "micro spiders" that they hope can repair the body from the inside.

If that sounds like the nanobots sci-fi authors have been promising would rejuvenate us for the past quarter century, you've been paying rapt attention. These spiders would function in much the same way as those theoretical 'bots, though the really impressive bit here is that thanks to Penn State scientists, this dream is no longer theoretical.

Also, much to the chagrin of journalists hoping to paint a grim future filled with minute, shiny arachnid overlords, these "spiders" aren't really spiders at all.

New Scientist explains:

Ayusman Sen of Pennsylvania State University in University Park and his colleagues have created the self-propelling microspiders using spheres less than a micrometre wide. Each sphere is made up of two halves - one hemisphere is gold, the other silica - and looks like a gold-and-silver Christmas bauble.

To turn the spheres into motors, the group attached a Grubbs catalyst - a molecule that builds long chains of smaller molecules - to the silica side. When Sen drops his spheres into a solvent containing the chemical norbornene, the catalyst spins a polymer from molecules of the chemical. Eventually there are far more unpolymerised single molecules of norbornene around the gold side of the sphere than the silica side , creating an osmotic gradient, as fluids will always move from a region with lots of particles to a region with fewer particles. The solvent rushes toward the gold side of the sphere, causing the whole sphere to move.

In layman's terms, these machines -- which Sen hopes can be powered by elements already found in the body, such as glucose -- travel through the blood stream using a chemical motor, seek out damage, and spin webs of "medical glue" to patch up any holes the patient might have.

It's an idea that is brilliant in its superficial simplicity, and the progress Sen's team has seen so far is quite remarkable. Assuming they are able to coax the 'bots into seeking out damage properly, using "motors" attracted to the secretions of wounds, this could be a huge step both in non-invasive medical treatment, and the overall health of the human body.

On the other hand, if these 'bots suddenly develop a taste for chemicals found in other, non-damaged parts of the body, they could do irreparable harm to their hosts. Unfortunately, I still can't spin that into a hellish future dystopia where we all slowly suffocate inside cocoons while our robot masters daintily sup upon our vital fluids, but here's hoping Sen can get all the kinks worked out before someone ends up with their prostate glued to their left arm.

Source: New Scientist
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I can imagine a million spiders ripping out of a small paper cut.

or becoming Spiderman, either or really

So... Pennsylvania State University is working on creating... the Borg. Great idea!

So this the where the blood-spiders came from I always thought it was dark magic.

*flips open cell phone* Kirk to Enterprise.
That is LITERALLY the reason why there are flip open cell phones, someone wanted a working Star Trek communicator.
And like my dad used to say, "Our science-fiction is your reality.", oh the truth in that statement.

...I live in PA, does someone want to help me get the hell outta here for when the spiders take over peoples bodies.

Spider man, spider man, can do anything a spider can...

Alternatively: Firing bees from your hand.

This will be the dawn of a million spiderman jokes.

How long until we get actual images of these spider-spheres. And how long until someone photoshops those pictures into 'how do I shot web'?

This is medical nanodot technology from five years ago isn't it? Doesn't sound like they progressed too far in those last five years... and it's likely still tied up nicely with all the exact same problems as before.

Am I the only one reminded of Vamp from Metal Gear Solid 2? He had nanomachines in his blood that let him heal from normally fatal injuries (a headshot immediately after the fight with Fortune for example).

$20 says instead of healing a papercut, it heals up your veins and capillaries and cuts off your hand with bloodloss.

eventually you'll just be a head and torso, immobilized and kept alive, acting as a living nest for these THINGS.

N

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I didn't think they'd manage to make something like this while I'm still alive. It's great living in the future. Even if I have some concerns, I think I'd volunteer to test this on my body because I just love things like this.

Why is it Penn State is always trying to create nightmare fuel? you never see Pitt doing this kinda stuff.

...

I remember when I always younger, I always used to have dreams where I would see spiders just crawling in my blood, long the bones, spinning webs in me where I was bleeding and stoppingm and eating germs and viruses in my body. its weird to hear this news now.

It sounds like nanotechnology, except that it's based on organic lifeforms.

No. No, I refuse to be involved with anything involving spiders. Robots or no.

HaHa, no. keep them away from me. I would sooner allow Terminators access to my innards than spiders.

Did anyone else read the title and think, "SPIDERS! DO NOT WANT!" Did they really have to say that? and the last paragraph... Anyone else know about or think about these things?
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I have a feeling that these things are going to have a lot of bugs to work out before they're ready for use in people.

Earnest Cavalli:
On the other hand, if these 'bots suddenly develop a taste for chemicals found in other, non-damaged parts of the body, they could do irreparable harm to their hosts. Unfortunately, I still can't spin that into a hellish future dystopia where we all slowly suffocate inside cocoons while our robot masters daintily sup upon our vital fluids, but here's hoping Sen can get all the kinks worked out before someone ends up with their prostate glued to their left arm.

Not quite what you were looking for, but the short story that inspired the novel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Music_(novel) is as close as I can think of. (Disclaimer: I didn't like it.)

As a man with a few medical problems that can be colloquially (though inaccurately) referred to as "sports injuries" (unless war is a sport)... I'd just like to say

Shakomaru:
Did anyone else read the title and think, "SPIDERS! DO NOT WANT!" Did they really have to say that? and the last paragraph... Anyone else know about or think about these things?
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No, I was totally with you on that. The thought of spiders in my veins terrified me for a second, and then I read the article and calmed down.

Also, BIONICLES!!!

OT: Now that I've calmed down, I think that's actually pretty damn cool. As long as they don't start programming people to do their bidding, I'm okay with this

"If you've cut yourself in the last couple of hours you may have noticed your blood is filled with spiders. they're supposed to heal your cuts but so far ive got nothing but bad reports;you untrustworthy spider men."

Like all Australians, I have an inherent distrust of spiders.

Earnest Cavalli:
If that sounds like the nanobots sci-fi authors have been promising would rejuvenate us for the past quarter century, you've been paying rapt attention. These spiders would function in much the same way as those theoretical 'bots, though the really impressive bit here is that thanks to Penn State scientists, this dream is no longer theoretical.

RESTORER NANOBOTS!

I've wanted these things for years! When anyone asks what I'd wish for from a genie, I tell them blood born restorer nanobots.

Now they just need to figure out how to make these little guys kill cancer cells, manage weight problems, repair the pancreas, and prevent heart attacks and... yeah.

Sign me up! ^^

This shit needs a PR boost right now because even though I'm usually the first in line to proclaim the virtues of science and technology to improve human life (or Trans-human life as the case may be) and renounce the fear mongering that stymies it's advancement. Even I have to admit that the idea of Spiders, hypothetical or not, in my blood is fucking atrocious.

Space Jawa:
I have a feeling that these things are going to have a lot of bugs to work out before they're ready for use in people.

Okay I laughed, well played

Cool. That experiment with telomerase that successfully rejuvenated those lab rats plus these things. Death by old age will eventually not be a problem.

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Why,why in the name of fucking everything did scientists decide this was a good idea. SPIDERS. IN. YOUR. BLOOD.

I cannot imagine this having a good future impact,but then again,I'm a pessimist.

So um... I fail to see the relationship between spiders and what he is actually describing. If those things could be used effectively they could do so many different things...

Double Post...

Don't worry, the chances of the blood spiders rising up against their human overlords from the inside is only around 17% now!

But in all seriousness, even if this cured all diseases, I would not want a bunch of spiders crawling around inside my blood, microscopic or not.

If it mutates and I can shoot spiders out of my hands I'll take 2.

I will do it under these conditions:

1) The spiders do not take people over.
2) I will wait 2 years behind every upgrade or whatever to see if they actually don't take other people over.
3) I can shoot webs like Spider Man.

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