Personal Medical Systems (Medisystems)

Image from Bernd Helfert

Artificial medical systems within the body of a Biont

In the majority of Inner Sphere and some middle region societies it is common for citizens to have a plethora of technological devices integrated within their body to keep them at optimum fitness, fight disease, provide rapid healing and ensure biological immortality. Physically these systems are comprised of specialised implants that support the tissue they are bonded to and mobile, micro-nanoscale machines known as medicytes that travel around the body diagnosing and treating as needed (see components and capabilities). Colloquially these technologies are often known as 'Artificial Immune Systems', a name inherited from historical systems that were only enhancements for the immune system. This name persists in many societies despite being a misnomer; the correct term is 'personal medical system' or 'medisystem' for short and these augmentations are far more sophisticated than their predecessors.

Medisystems are managed by sophisticated software containing tens of thousands of clinical algorithms developed over millennia of research and development. Individual components contain behavioural rules suited to their ability and purpose, but a central controlling node is required to oversee the hierarchy. Given the size of this software several cubic centimeters of computrinium (using the best available modosophont technology) are needed to run it. Thus medisystem management is almost always handled via a Direct Neural Interface. This has the added bonus of making it easy for the user to receive information from their medisystem as well as give instructions to it. The governing software of medisystems differs slightly depending on the cultural and legal background of the designer. Healthcare sectors often have subtly different standards of health than others, for example: what range of body fat percentage is acceptable for a nearbaseline of a specific age. When acquiring a medisystem these biases should be taken into account, though the vast majority of systems are designed to allow the user to define their own healthy ranges of traits that the medisystem will endeavour to keep their body within (Warning: tampering with these settings to excess without relevant training or consultation can lead to unsustainable, dangerous body modifications).

The diversity of medisystems is only limited by the diversity of life in the Terragen sphere. In addition, as a platform for further bodymods, some sophonts have integrated their medisystems so drastically that it's impossible to tell where their biology ends and the system begins.

Personal Medical System Implantation

Acquisition of a medisystem is a relatively common procedure in the Terragen sphere. Throughout history many different methods have been developed; from consumption of spores that grow the medisystem overtime to rapid installation by invasive autodoc surgery. The most common method is surgiconic implantation of stimplant seeds along with medicyte infusion. This procedure offers a popular balance between inconvenience of implantation and time to completion.

For this method a medisystem kit comes as a cylindrical applicator wrapped within a soft sleeve. To operate first the sleeve is removed and placed around the arm (or suitable limb) of the sophont. A nearbaseline model will cover the entire forearm, from elbow to wrist. The purpose of the sleeve is two fold:
  1. It contains within it approximately ten billion medicytes of varying types and configurations. Using submillimetre cannulas the sleeve will infuse these medicytes into the sophont's body where they will quickly take up their task of providing enhanced healing capabilities.
  2. Via a micro-radio mesh network provided by the medicytes the sleeve will monitor the progress of the implantation of the medisystem and its subsequent development. Using an OPA interface on the outer surface the sleeve can report to the user as well as allowing them to issue instructions to the nascent system until such time as it has fully integrated to their mind via a DNI. For this reason sleeves are often worn for several days by sophonts having a DNI installed at the same time, even though infusion is generally complete in a matter of hours.
Once the sleeve is in place the applicator can be used to apply a stock of miniture surgicons to the body. Contained within the surgicons are stimplant seeds which must be inserted into the correct tissues and organs. Applicators are easy to use; opening the cylinder will signal to the surgicons inside (typically around 100 in number) to begin. They will then swarm out of the applicator and crawl over the sophonts body to position themselves in the correct locations for their payload. After adhering to the skin they sterilize the incision site and begin inserting the stimplant seeds into the body.

The process of infusion and implantation takes up to six hours with the first surgicons peeling off in a little under an hour. At this point the medisystem is operating at half capacity, this will rise to full in approximately ten days as the stimplants grow and medicyte populations rise to an optimum number and diversity.

When ordering a personal medical system implantation kit it is highly desirable to provide basic biological data about oneself (such as a genome sequence) prior to the kit being fabricated. This will allow the medisystem to be customised ahead of time to be biochemically compatible with the host, avoiding any unwanted immune response upon implantation. If data is not provided there is a good chance of flu-like symptoms manifesting over the course of a day following implantation. This condition is very rarely dangerous and within a short time the new medisystem can put down the response, heal any damage and adapt itself to prevent further rejection. However in very rare cases, particularly when the user has heavily customised themselves with genemods, the reaction can be much more serious and can even be fatal. Sophonts should always check a kit is broadly compatible with their biology before attempting an implantation without pre-adaptation.

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Development Notes
Text by Ryan B
Initially published on 16 October 2011.