Army Developing Wolverine's Healing Factor, For Real

Illustration for article titled Army Developing Wolverines Healing Factor, For Real

The soldiers of the future could recover quickly from wounds that would have killed or incapacitated their forebears, thanks to new technologies the army is developing. They include magic dust, regrowing bones, and nerve/vein transplants.


It's like a dream come true — or maybe a nightmare. Soldiers could be sent back to the battlefield over and over again after near-maimings and minor mutilations. One experiment succeeded in growing back a soldier's fingertip after it got cut off, thanks to a "Extracellular Matrix" or "magic dust," made out of cells from the intestinal lining and urinary bladder. It stimulates the body's natural self-repair ability, by making the body think it's back in the womb.

Another breakthrough is an engineered skin substitute from a patient's own — you can grow a postage-stamp-sized piece, and it grows to be large enough to cover a burn or wound, or even large damaged regions of the body. The military is working on nerve and vein transplants. And they've pioneered a biodegradable splint, or scaffold, made of ceramic, that can help regrow missing or damaged bone. (So far they've only regrown about three centimeters of missing bone in rat clincial trials, but they hope to get up to five centimeters within a few years.)

Illustration for article titled Army Developing Wolverines Healing Factor, For Real

And then there's BEAR (pictured right), a robot that can retrieve injured people from the battlefield, so they can have their wounds miraculously healed. Another robot is Packbot, a voice-controlled bot that can do explosives removal and surveillance. [CNN]

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Corpore Metal

I remember reading a science fiction short story back in the 80s. They develop this extremely powerful tissue regeneration therapy and the US starts using it on our troops in a war (I can't remember if this was covert or not.) Central America. The government quickly realizes this is a public relations victory because they can just keep recycling the vets they already have in the field without have to draft anyone, call up reserves or otherwise bring the public's attention to the war with coffins, amputees and so on.

Obviously the unending tours begin to talk a serious mental toll on the vets.

Can't remember who wrote this or the title. Aside from the plot all I can remember is that our troops derogatorily referred to the guerillas as "Pedros."