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Our 10 Favorite Replacements for 'Where's My Flying Car?'

        Tech | Future Tech

6
Where's My Supermedicine?
Dallas Wiens, the United States' first full face transplant patient, speaks to reporters at a news conference at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston on May 9, 2011. © Brian Snyder/Reuters/Corbis
Dallas Wiens, the United States' first full face transplant patient, speaks to reporters at a news conference at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston on May 9, 2011. © Brian Snyder/Reuters/Corbis

Mind-blowing medicine has already built a full head of steam and is barreling down research tracks few ever imagined. In fact, the medical world moves so fast that we easily forget that only a century or so has passed since the birth of germ theory, and only a decade or so since the Human Genome Project sequenced its eponym.

From the beginning, the ideas of transplants and panaceas marched in lockstep with sci-fi horror tales like Robert Louis Stevenson's "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." Indeed, we are daily reminded of the dangers of rampant pharmaceuticals by that most ubiquitous of modern cautionary tales, the drug commercial disclaimer. But we also live in an age of outpatient brain surgery, gall bladder surgeries requiring days instead of weeks for recovery, and full-facial transplants.

Meanwhile, research continues into implantable pharmacies; disease-detecting, nano-sized biocomputers; printable drugs; and photochemical tissue bonding, which uses light to "stitch" wounds and recouple severed nerves and blood vessels. Scientists are also testing light-based neuroscience, 3-D-printed body parts and personalized medicine based on genetics [sources: Binns; Boyle; Boyle; Boyle; Dillow].

Whether you'll want to know your genetic predispositions for diseases, or reveal them to your insurance company, employer, government or potential spouse, is another question.