Imagine medicine made of combined properties from the intestinal lining and the urinary bladder, which can help to regenerate a missing digit or limb – this was only one out of hundreds of technological research projects displayed at the 26th Army Science convention held recently in Orlando, Florida.
Scientists from around the world gathered at the four-day conference, displaying hundreds of research projects developed with one purpose: to make soldiers both safer and increasingly effective in their abilities. The Army’s research laboratories, universities and partner industries all had some hand in a variety of the technological innovations displayed.
As for the regenerative medicine, known as Extracellular Matrix, U.S. Army Biological Scientist Sgt. Glen Rossman explained, “The cream-colored crystallized powder, called ‘magic dust,’ boosts the body's natural tendency to repair itself...the body thinks it's back in the womb [when the matrix has been applied to a missing digit or limb]."
One nonmilitant study participant gained a first-hand experience of Extracellular Matrix's abilities. After four weeks of researchers continuously applying the medicine to a missing tip of the participant's finger, which had been lost in a model plane’s propeller, replenishing new skin and tissue grew over the damaged area.
Tissue and skin are not the only regenerative interests of the Armed Forces. In fact, the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine is also studying nerve and vein transplantation, which includes the treatment of burns without scarring, along with the regeneration of tissue, skin and bone.
Both animals and humans have aided in regenerative studies, enabling the institute to develop therapies for the generous amount of soldiers who become victim of explosives.
Armed Forces Institute Scientists have also developed an engineered skin substitute from patients' cells. A sample of skin approximately the size of a postage stamp actually has the ability to grow significantly. Placing the substitute over a wound or burn provides reduced chances for infection and has the ability to eventually grow and cover large areas of the injured body.
Army scientists have even developed a method for regrowth in areas missing bone. Hydroxyapatite, a biodegradable, web-like tube of calcium-phosphate ceramic, is placed in the location of the missing bone to create a scaffold-effect. This scaffold provides a base for the body, allowing it to grow natural tissue, bone and veins again. Although up until this point the method has resulted in a maximum 3-centimeter growth of bone in rats, researchers are hoping to increase this number to 5 centimeters over the course of the next two years.
Aside from regenerative displays, visitors could find complementing technology at the convention, as well. For example, the Battlefield Extraction Assist Robot, or BEAR, provides one option for removing wounded soldiers from combat zones, so that they can be treated for things such as missing limbs. Built by Vecna Technologies in association with the Army, the human-shaped prototype comes equipped with eyes, ears, arms, lights, two cameras and infrared abilities. With a maximum speed of 10 mph, BEAR can lift 250 pounds while balancing on its toes and can also help to increase the safety of soldiers' human rescuers.
Elaborating on BEAR's value, Vecna robotic engineer Andrew Allen explained, “BEAR can easily be replaced; it costs money and not lives."
quote: it seems asinine to spend billions of dollars devising better ways to kill people and then spend billions of dollars figuring out how to heal them. These advances will find their way into civilian medicine and help many people, but hopefully you see my point. Maybe we should research ways to avoid war in the first place.
quote: We've already spent billions of dollars avoiding war... It’s called nuclear arsenal.
quote: I suggest you use some of that vastly superior intellect and study history.
quote: The type of rabid nationalism that is described in Orwell’s books just isn’t the reality (with the possible exception of North Korea).
quote: I see that you have a great love for George (the author not the current president). Hey that’s great. And no I did not throw him in with every other fiction writer but facts are facts. You publish works in fiction because you want to and expect to get paid for the effort. Orwell was an exceptional writer. He could not have the influence on today that he has had without skill and perception. And I give him his due. Yet still a paycheck is still a paycheck.
quote: Without war, people would look more carefully at their own governments, which is something no government wants.
quote: Responding to a dumb statement like that would be unworthy of my vastly superior intellect, so...
quote: That relativist statement is really nearsighted and if the thought is pushed with enough rigor, will self-contradict itself. There are things that are untrue because there is a truth, you don't need there to be lies to know what truth is.
quote: i was once told by a wise man, you dont need suffering to appreciate happiness.
quote: The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.
quote: Most soldiers lack intelligence
quote: just by participating in the war against irak, your penis will grow by 50%!