Respirocytes are hypothetical, microscopic, artificial red blood cells that are intended to emulate the function of their organic counterparts, so as to supplement or replace the function of much of the human body's normal respiratory system. Respirocytes were proposed by Robert A. Freitas Jr in his 1998 paper "A Mechanical Artificial Red Blood Cell: Exploratory Design in Medical Nanotechnology".
Respirocytes are an example of molecular nanotechnology, a field of technology still in the very earliest, purely hypothetical phase of development. Current technology is not sufficient to build a respirocyte due to considerations of power, atomic-scale manipulation, immune reaction or toxicity, computation and communication.
Structure of a respirocyte
In Freitas' proposal, each respirocyte could store and transport 236 times more oxygen than a natural red blood cell, and could release it in a more controlled manner.
Muscle fatigue results from inadequate supply of oxygen to the muscles during intense exercise, leading to inefficient lactic acid fermentation. If respirocytes could increase the supply of oxygen despite exercise, it should be possible to reduce muscle fatigue, increasing a person's endurance.
- Robert A. Freitas Jr. (1998). "Exploratory Design in Medical Nanotechnology: A Mechanical Artificial Red Cell". Artificial Cells, Blood Substitutes, and Immobil. Biotech. (26): 411–430.
- "RESPIROCYTES – IMPROVING UPON NATURE'S DESIGN: BREATHE EASY WITH RESPIROCYTES".
- CNN – Scientists: Humans and machines will merge in future
- Kurzweil, Ray. The Singularity Is Near. p. 254.