h a l f b a k e r y
Point of hors d'oevre
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Lately scientists and engineers are building chemical-kits-on-a-chips which are getting smaller and smaller. Fluids are moved around via electric fields/currents. A chip can contain hundreds of different enzymes and
catalysts which can either enhance the production of needed products or the dissociation
of unwanted by-products into simple compounds which get re-entered into one of many reaction centers of the chip.
One can add simple inputs (simple aqueous solutions of sugars for carbon, hydrogen, oxygen), nitrogen may be supplied by protein solutions or ammonia. The network of reaction centers are connected by micro-ducts which
are open/closed by electric signals which are controlled by embedded microprocessors.
So in the comfort of your home, you can program for your drug (medicinal, of course) of your choice.
||How big is this machine? How often do I have to refill ingredients? I'll withhold my vote for now but making drugs that work and don't kill you is a very complicated process.
||Unless the oh-so-reprogrammable guts of this thing are
armored like a tank and can only be opened using a
proprietary key that comes with its own SWAT team, this is
pretty much a meth lab in a box.
||This is sort of a compounding of many current and
proposed ideas, mainly microfluidics.
||The main problem is that it's very difficult to
generalize chemistry, whether uncatalysed or
catalysed by inorganic catalysts or (even more so)
||For instance, if you want to add a carboxyl group,
the details of the chemistry will depend on what
you're trying to add it to. This is especially true of
||There are some "modular" chemistries, and also a
few enzymes which can be used in a slightly
modular way, but these are the exceptions rather
than the rule.
||I like this if it is like that Star Trek cubbyhole that could make me anything I want to eat. Because I want peanut butter and I ate it all just now. Chunky, please.