09:09, Tuesday 4 May., 2004

New teeth 'could soon be grown': research for tests on humans within two years after successful research on mice. Stem cells, the so-called master cells, would be programmed to develop into teeth and then transplanted into the patient's jaw where the gap is. It is thought it would then take two months for the tooth to fully develop. But it could be five years before the technology is widely available to the general public.

Five years. Let's say ten. A decade! That's nothing! Okay, it's 1994, the www is just taking off: by 2004 we'll be using the www for paying bills, replacing encyclopaedias, socialising. It's turning into a new and indispensible medium (or at least a step on the way to another one).

Right, it's 2004. In ten years we'll have cheap and disposable teeth grown in bulk in vats. What then? They'd be good as studs for soccer boots I imagine. Better for the grass than metal when they snap. Maybe for solid brushes for cleaning trains. Teeth are biodegradable, plus they warm nicely, and aren't too hard or soft. Could pavement slabs be tooth substrates, continuously growing? How about molars for keyboard keys? With engraved holograms in the enamel to say which letter each is. Actually, if they can implant jewelry onto the eyeball membrane, why can't they hologram my teeth today? What else? Combs. Necklaces. In sheets, to line the inside of food mixers to act as an abrasive surface for peeling potatoes. Hollowed out, to replace the little plastic sheaths on ethernet plugs.

Interconnected

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