Communion Of Dreams

“Flexible, stretchable electronics could launch cyborg era.”

From page one of Communion of Dreams:

With a slight sigh, he lightly pressed the small wafer under the skin between his left ear and jaw. He spoke out loud, though his voice was just above a whisper. “What do you want, Seth?”

And then closing that scene on page two:

He paused there at the railing, right hand manipulating the thin-film controls under the skin on the back of his left hand. Looking out over the herd of slowly moving animals, a see-through display came up before him. Nothing new on the nets. So, whatever the emergency was, it wasn’t public knowledge yet. He turned, opened the door to the station, and stepped inside.

Remember, Communion of Dreams is set in 2052 (albeit after major societal disruptions would have messed with the pace of technological development). Looks like we might get to this point a lot sooner. From a Science News article titled “Beginnings of Bionic: Flexible, stretchable electronics could launch cyborg era“:

McAlpine belongs to a growing pack of tech-savvy scientists figuring out how to merge the rigid, brittle materials of conventional electronics with the soft, curving surfaces of human tissues. Their goal: To create products that have the high performance of silicon wafers — the crystalline material used in computer chips — while still moving with the body.

* * *

In the last two years, another team, led by Zhenan Bao of Stanford University, has been working toward making stretchy, artificial skins from rubber and carbon nanotubes. The skins will feel like the real thing to the touch — and they will have a sense of touch too, electronically detecting changes in strain and pressure from a stretch or a pinch.

* * *

“We went from a computer that fit in a room, to a computer that goes on your desk, to a computer that can go in your pocket,” McAlpine says. Joining computers to the body, he says, is “the next logical step.”

Indeed, I’m reasonably sure such technology will become widespread. All the trends are already in place indicating so.

Unless some … thing … happens to either prevent or reverse such a trend. Those who have read Communion of Dreams will know what I’m alluding to, and I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t yet read the book. Heh.

Jim Downey



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