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Popular Science introduces the engineered human
2005 09 05

By John MacNeill |

Brain chips that enable us to control machines with our thoughts. Kidneys and lungs built to order in the lab. Pills to make you smarter and more creative. An implant that gives you a tan and protects against skin cancer. All these innovations are in development; some are already being tested on human subjects.

The next technological frontier will be our own bodies. Genetics, materials science, tissue engineering and nanotechnology are already yielding products to help the sick and injured, including a Band-Aid-like heart patch and the C-leg prosthesis for amputees. But we are entering a century in which medical science will go beyond treating disease to create enhancements that will make us “better than well.”

In this special issue, PopSci explores the breakthroughs that will make it possible to manipulate the body in novel (and sometimes disturbing) ways. What will it be like when athletes can augment themselves with artificial muscles and ordinary people can opt for implants that let them see new colors or never forget a thing? What will it be like when medications can make a person more monogamous—or religious—and babies can be brought to term in artificial wombs? Read on to learn scientists’ plans for altering everything from your bathroom medicine cabinet to your own brain.

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