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Cybernetics is one on communications, so what is BIOCybernetics?

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 5/20/2008

Cybernetics as we learnt from previous articles and reading around is about communication, the means and the hows, and whys of communication. Biocybernetics concerns the communication protocols, if that word can be used, are used by the biological cells that exist in bodies.

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    Cybernetics as we learnt from previous articles and reading around is about communication, the means and the hows, and whys of communication. Biocybernetics concerns the communication protocols, if that word can be used, that are used by the biological cells that exist in bodies.

    Bio-cybernetics concerns itself with trying to find out how these communications take place. It is in most of the living things that we are ourselves, the mammals, the trees and the plants. Each has a special characteristic in which each of the biological cells communicate with each other. What is the mode of transference, and how is it received, processed, collated, and then transmitted back with more than lightening speed, much faster than the fastest computers ever designed by man.

    We take the example again of coming into contact with a hot plate. By the time you touch the plate, your hand or the part of your body which came into contact is jerked away, and in less  than seconds, that part is full of white blood cells, and other auto immune systems of your body traveling from different places to it to start to heal it. It is so fast that it takes minutes for us to observe it.

    That is one area which bio-cybernetics deals with.  Another major area of concern to bio-cybernetics is how is it that despite such a wonderful set up, it often happens that some people suffer from disorders where such transmissions do not take place, for instance, how come a person develops deafness, what causes it, is it the fault of a biological cell, a mutant of a cell, or a malfunction. If it is a malfunction what causes it, and how is it that the body substitutes that absence of hearing by enabling another heightened functioning of another biological cell which is responsible for sight and smell, which enable the possible deaf person to attune him to the lip synchronization and make out the words. How does the hearing aid help in the case of a totally deaf person? How does a totally blind person, able to make out by sheer sense of smell, and feeling, which is standing nearby, and what cognitive function gets elevated to a higher level which enables that person to make out inflections in your tone, and how does recognition takes place?

    Bio-cybernetics is all about communication between the various biological parts of the body. How does the DNA communicate with the RNA or the genomes that make up the genetic characteristic? What makes flowers respond to sound or what trigger it has in its biological nature to flower when there is sunshine, and why does it wither when it does not get enough water or sun? What prompts photosynthesis? What is the mechanism which transforms sunlight rays on the surface of the plant to start the process of photosynthesis? Why is it different when the plant is taken under human forms of lighting? Even then how does this communication take place?

    What are the neurotransmitters that are located all over the body that a thorn in the foot is automatically, within nanoseconds or even a smaller range of time, transmits the danger to the skin, and automatically withdraws the foot even before the human cognitive function feels the pain?  Biocybernetics seeks answers to these questions by trying to establish links, helps researchers to feed in data, and with complex math formulae and algorithms tries to fathom these communication channels, and warning posts. 

    These are used not only for helping medical professionals alone. They are useful in other ways. For instance, when you are likely to collide with another person unknowingly, your body automatically swerves when sight falls upon the oncoming body! What mechanism in the brain or elsewhere makes that action spontaneous. Why is it that most people fall sideways, and in doing so, often fall on their shoulders, or their hands come up in front to protect the torso? What mechanism or transmitter determines this action in the split second of the falling, and before hitting the floor?

    During illness what causes the body to shut down various portions as they become affected? For instance, in very hot summer, some people faint. Fainting is a sign that there is a sudden loss of fluids or that the body has shut down the brain and its control system temporarily to perform some rescue system to overcome that excess temperature, or is it simply a sign that is telling the body that you need to get more fluids and out of the heat?

    If the auto immune system is so responsive, then why does there occur kidney malfunctions, or heart disease, or high or low blood pressure? Or is it that the body or the brain transmits certain warning signals, like profuse sweating, dizziness, or spells of blackouts informing of impending or occurring malfunctions in blood pressure or higher stress on the heart? These are domains in which biocybernetics plays a key role, as it tries to ascertain the precise nature of the communications between the various organs, the neurotransmitters, and the apex controller, where it is located, what controls the controller, and what is the mechanism for a immediate response to be sent to the afflicted area.  So where is the command center?

    More importantly, what causes death? Death means that all systems are shut down, and breathing and brain functions cease. This is one of the mysteries that possibly one day, biocybernetics may unlock.