Re: "Star Trek: First Contact" Technical Questions

Anders Sandberg (
Thu, 28 Nov 1996 16:35:42 +0100 (MET)

On Sun, 24 Nov 1996, Chris Hind wrote:

> >My eye doctor told me that if someone is truly blind (e.g., the retina is
> >destroyed), then the optic nerve dies. Therefore, it would not be possible
> >to replace the entire eye *unless* you invent a way to bypass the optic
> >nerve.
> How much is destroyed? Does it have little atrophied remains or is it gone
> completely?

I think it depeds a bit on why the retina died; if the ganglion cells die,
then you loose the optic nerve (their cell bodies are in the eye), but if the
damage is local to the other kinds of cells (retinosis pigmentosa?), then you
will have a working (if understimulated) optic nerve.

> Perhaps with some type of
> genengineered cell or nanites we can create a new optic nerve by pulling a
> strand from the brain?

Well, you have to do it the other way around, make axons grow from the
retina to the brain. Or perhaps slowly drag a thalamic neuron towards the
eye, stimulating it to grow and axon back to the lateral geniculate
nucleus. But it seems like too much trouble; just replace the nerve with
an artificial system.

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y