Healthcare Narratives: From Scenarios to Societal Debates
Fashion and agriculture are two sectors of society that might be affected by these new technologies in a rather short time span. Nonetheless, the domain that will see these technologies first adopted is going to be healthcare.
The application of gene therapy pursued for the past 20 years is yet another confirmation of the fertility of the sector. When digital and synbio technologies merge, the improvements for our health could be huge. The scale of interventions goes from performing current practices in a much less invasive way, to actually changing the way we cure diseases.
Microcustomized medical technology might be embedded in clothing for infants. These bio-bedclothes would be grown at home and integrated with diagnostic tools and genetic treatments in their fabric, as illustrated in Figure 17-6. While the child sleeps, they would “breathe in” the monitoring system, a cloud of nanoparticles that is gently being “exhaled” by the blanket. The cloud would contain a mixture of tiny digital and synbio agents, which enter the bloodstream of the child unnoticed and analyze it, looking for signs of disease. Automated analysis would trigger the creation of the appropriate treatment vectors, woven out of the DNA structure of the bedding. In this way, the entire procedure would be completely seamless for the patients: they might not even realize they had become ill and then been cured.
Figure 17-6. Microcustomized medical technology might be embedded in clothing for infants