NANO: Jacking in without a jack

Aaron Davidson (
Sat, 14 Aug 1999 22:19:33 -0600

Bradbury's Extro4 talk on the uses of nanobots within the human body has had me thinking a lot about the subject lately. It just occured to me (regardless of whether my thought is original or not) that nanites could easily be used to create very real virtual realities.

Much of cyberpunk literature has had the users "jacking in" to their computers by way of some sort of plug interfaced directly into their brain.

Instead, nanobots could reside within sensory neurons controlling touch, balance, motion, vision, smell, and hearing. These nanobots could all be controlled and coordinated by some external computer sending wireless signals.
The nanobot could inhibit a sensory neuron from firing naturally or excite a neuron when the VR simulation demands it. This way, the VR experience could feel every bit as real as reality and not some crude approximation. We can currently don head gear and see a virtual world, but we still don't feel like we are moving about in it.

I wonder why no one has discussed this alternative. Or have I been living under my carpet again? My apologies if that's the case. I've been known to become oblivious from time to time...

Any thoughts on how hard this would be? (given medical nanobot technology) I can imagine the difficulties would lie in the rapid communication and coordination to make the virtual reality coherent.

Robert: You may have mentioned it in your talk, but I cannot remember what you said in regards to what sort of communication method would be used between an external device and cellular nanobots. Is it possible to achieve real time communications without frying the brain?

| Aaron Davidson <> |