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HUMAN ON A CHIP

08.02.2012

If the movies have taught me anything, it’s this: don’t do complex bio-testing on animals.  Sure, it has benefits at times, but it also can be a world-ender.

And this, I must assume, is why a team from MIT just received $32 million in funding to explore an emerging alternative to testing on animals: organ chips.  I will not pretend to be capable of describing these chips and what they do, but that’s why Youtube was invented:



While chips like the one described above have been developed with a focus on specific areas and functions of the body, the recent MIT funding is part of a broader, $132 million campaign to coordinate these efforts with the ultimate goal of simulating a complete human biological system…in the palm of your hand.

The title of the project – “human-on-a-chip” – is enough to raise plenty of interesting questions not only for the immediate benefits and fears of the project (more efficient development process of life saving vaccines and cures VS more efficient development process of life ending biological weapons), but also the long term ramifications: the realities of synthetic life.

This project represents the nexus of the increasing fusion between physical and technological entities.  It signals a future where pieces of us are constructed in a lab and not organically, allowing us to implant not only replacements for decaying organs, but enhancements for functioning ones.  We are moving towards machines that are no longer in our hands, but in our bodies.

What does this have to do with marketing?  Nothing, yet.  But it does showcase the unwavering requirement for the human experience.  I believe in experiential marketing because I feel that humans will always need interactions in and with the physical world above all other mediums (yes: even the phones we currently have our attention turned to).  This human-in-a-chip, to me, is just another far reaching attempt for humans to move technology off of cold, separate machines and implant it into the thing that means the most to us: our physical lives.

How it will one day convince you buy a product?  I guess we’ll see…

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