Symmetric bionic augmentation.

Something that's always bugged me about science fiction is the lack of common sense of characters' bionic enhancements.

No, I'm not going to call them cybernetics.  RPGs and movies have it wrong.  Those aren't cybernetics, they're bionics.  The former is a feature of the latter.

Characters pretty much always seem to have their augmentations installed bass-ackwards.  Most of the time their positioning doesn't make sense at all.  Let's look at some handedness statistics: Depending on where you are, between 2% and 12% of people are left-handed.  Depending on your upbringing (if you were born left handed in some places, whether …

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Controlling genes by thought, DNA sequencing in 90 minutes, and cellular memory.

A couple of years ago the field of optogenetics, or genetically engineering responsiveness to visible light to exert control over cells was born. In a nutshell, genes can be inserted into living cells that allow certain functions to be switched on or off (such as the production of a certain hormone or protein) in the presence or absence of a certain color of light. Mostly, this has only been done on an experimental basis to bacteria, to figure out what it might be good for. As it happens to turn out, optogenetics is potentially good for quite a lot of …

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Not quite mind reading, not mind control the way people usually think of it, but significant nonetheless.

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology biotech researchers have made progress on an area of prosthetics that most people don't think about because it's so obvious but is still very important nonetheless: The neural interface. Specifically, they've worked out an algorithm that converts patterns of chemoelectrical activity in the brain that signify intent of motion into commands for an external device. Current prosthetics aren't directly hooked into the central nervous system but the "network edge" of the peripheral nervous system via interface jacks connected to nerve endings. Let's be clear, interface jacks that accept only broad sorts of input, such …

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