Star Trek’s ‘Dermal Regenerator’ Devices to Become Real Pretty Soon

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By Althea Serad | More Articles
February 25, 2016  01:05 AM

Star Trek, just like any other sci-fi movies and TV shows, is complete with its own high-tech devices never before seen in the real world. However, just like any other sci-fi movies and TV shows, some of the futuristic technologies in Star Trek are also probably being explored and replicated in the real world (perfect example being Mark Zuckerberg’s Jarvis challenge).

One Star Trek device in particular that we could be seeing pretty soon in the real world is a dermal regenerator.

As suggested by the name of the device, dermal regenerators can heal and regenerate skin wounds of Star Trek characters in just a few moments when a laser-like wand goes over the wound. Now, scientists from the University of St. Andrews and Harvard Medical School have developed a similar technology based on lasers which can heal wounds without having to stitch them.

Healing wounds via lasers have been discussed before, but this new technology offers something better in that the lasers won’t damage skin tissue. A study published in Nature Communications shows how researchers invented optical waveguides via different polymers and inserted them in mice. Within an hour of implantation, PVP waveguides reportedly dissolved while the PLGA polymer lost shape within 17 days. The polymer is biodegradable so that they can be left in the wound which later breaks down harmlessly.

Essentially, a “rose bengal” medical dye needs to be applied into the wound, which steals an electron from nearby collagen molecules when a laser beam hits it. Molecules bind themselves after they find an electron missing. The wound closes rapidly and ultimately turns into a natural seal. It’s better than sutures since it causes less scarring and it is way less invasive.

The new method is called "photomedicine" and it may only be a matter of time we could be seeing Star Trek’s dermal regenerators right before our eyes and laser beams are used in hospitals to seal up wounds.

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