Biologist Cornelis Vlasman envisions the human body as a working biological LEGO system. And his clickable system of interchanging human organs is coming to life … if you’re willing to define life fairly loosely.
And you’re willing to suspend reality for a bit. In a (fictional) experiment, Vlasman created OSCAR, a living, organic being formed from his own cells, albeit one that functions with the help of technology.
And if having a pocket-sized human system crafted from organic material wasn’t interesting enough, OSCAR is fully modular—here’s where you can start thinking LEGO-like worlds—with each part interchangeable to create unique arrangements. While this is sadly a sci-fi experiment, it’s one that just might have legs (and arms).
In the video from a few years ago, recently unearthed by Newsbreak’s Andrei Tapalaga, Vlasman shows off how his brain module, which is a fully electric device, connects to his lung module. The two immediately start interacting together. He adds in a kidney module, and then attaches two different limb modules that “start actuating the organism to move.”
As the organic matter starts sliding across the table, it makes you start to worry what OSCAR is up to—and what’s actually possible in the future. Vlasman says this prototype, with a blood stream and nerve signals transmitted throughout the connectors, changes the human body from a closed system to an open-source system.
“If an organ gets ill, you can easily replace it with a new one,” he says, while suggesting you could upgrade the body with an extra limb module, if desired. “The modular body will become alterable and adaptable to all kinds of situations.”
The experiment shows off the power of stem cell research for morphing into human tissue all while highlighting the interaction between technology and the human body. For OSCAR to work, it takes far more than just cells, as the modules in Vlasman’s experiment require an electric brain to operate. Instead of printing organs with the focus on identical copies for spare parts, maybe we do something different altogether. Maybe we turn science fiction into reality.
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