One of the biggest challenges in swimming is the fact that you have to come up for
air. In the future however, this will no longer be a problem. Developments in the field
of nanotechnology will allow the human body to use artificial red blood cells that can
store 200 times more oxygen and carbon dioxide than today’s natural red blood cells.
This would mean that sprinters can run at top speed for 15 minutes without having to
take a breath and, most excitingly for swimmers, it will allow them to stay underwater
for as long as four hours.
These artificial cells are known as respirocytes and have been designed by Robert
Freitas, who researches nanotechnology at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing.
He sees no reason why these tiny high pressure vessels won’t be in regular medical
and recreational use by 2020 or 2030.
Nanomedical applications such as those envisioned by Freitas could become
commonplace in the mid-to-long-term futures of many of those alive today. The
design is remarkably simple, powered by glucose. The realisation of the respirocyte is
dependent on the increased miniaturisation in manufacturing, something which has
already advanced at record speed over the last decade.
Seems damn interesting and possible in our lifetimes...