Growing up, I didn’t read comics, but that doesn’t mean I was unaware of comics. I knew the rudimentary figures of comic book lore. My favorite superhero, however, was Cyclops. How cool would it be to shoot laser beams out of your eyes! Getting into the genres more, laser beam eyes became more common and always cool. Well my little morsels of wundament, prepare for a whole new era of lasek surgery.
Scientists have successfully engineered a cell to produce green laser light. The shape of the cell even acts like a lens. Now let’s begin imagining the possibilities.
What if a layer of these cells could be spread over the lens of the eyeball? Could we get Cyclops like powers? Would it result in our blindness? Could we use our laser eyes for other abilities, like reading data off of CDs and DVDs from afar? Could we use them to see in different wavelengths, measure temperature or speed, etch metal?
This is probably the most fantastic of the uses for green, lasing cells. I think a far more plausible and interesting use would be to replace the biochemical neurological system of a human being with a bio-optical system. How fast would we be able to think and move with reactions at the speed of light? Would we glow whenever a synapse would fire? Would we need brains that wrote to disc? Would we need to sit perfectly still for the signals to line up? Would we cook our organs?
A hallmark of SF is the weaponization of technology. If we packed enough of these cells into a mold and had them lase at once or in sequence (for wave reinforcement), could we create a viable weapon? Could we code a bacteria with this lasing protein, encode it with an optical virus, and drop it into war zones to make enemy combatants peaceful?
Will technology go the biologic way or will it stay artificial? That’s the question I want you to weigh in on this week.