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Author Topic: Story - Nanite Technology  (Read 2166 times)

Offline Sparky

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Story - Nanite Technology
« on: 05. June 2020, 17:12:51 PM »
Hi everyone, I'm Sparky, I've been writing stories over in the "hidden" stories area (hey, if you're an adult, and have 30 posts then you can ask to join that part of the forums - see https://www.bracesforum.net/general/~*~-bracesstorys-~*~/). Anyway, I though I'd write a story that I would post more publicly, in here.

This story could be set now.... or maybe it's 10 years in the future. Who knows..... who really cares? When we look back 10 years, MOST things are pretty much the same as they were in 2010. We still don't have flying cars. We still use buses and trains. Supermarkets look pretty much the same. Ok, coffee shops have become more popular, for some strange reason.

The biggest change in the last ten years has been in technology. Smart TVs. Faster Internet. More powerful mobile phones and PCs. People using video to talk, rather than the phone.

This story is based upon bleeding edge technology, but technology we have seen in films a lot: nano technology, and nanites. Microscopic machines (well, I guess they could be custom programmed bio-technology) that can be injected into a body, and that can do very clever things. We're talking here about non-invasive surgery. But no reason this couldn't be applied to other fields, like dentistry..... or even .......


I'm not planning on making this a long story: I'll set up the basis of the story, and then a problem scenario that may occur (hey, it's not a story if things just go 100% right!), but I will leave it up to OTHERS to continue the story, if they want to.

So, on to the story - as with many of my stories, it's written in the first-person, which I know many of you seem to like.

================

Chapter 1

Hi, my name is Jacob, I'm 23, and I live in London... well, the northern suburbs of London.

I studied marketing at college, and have been with my company now for 2 years. I recently got a small promotion, which means I am earning a bit more money now, so can think of things I want that isn't just rent and food!

Now, I've been told that this story is to be about my teeth, so I'll try not to wander too much away from that topic.

So.... my teeth. Yes, I have teeth. My dentist tells me they are in good condition, so clearly I'm brushing correctly. As a teen they were pretty straight - I'm not saying that they were perfect, but good enough that no-one even considered suggesting I needed braces.

However, I have noticed that, over the last 5 years, both my top and bottom teeth have become slightly crooked, and a little out of place. The most annoying is one of my top front teeth seem to have rotated - I think it's because my top wisdom teeth came in about 4 years ago, and they must be pushing my teeth forwards.

So far, I've been ignoring the problem, but now that I have a small amount of available cash, I'm thinking about getting them fixed. I'm going to have to go for the cheapest option available, paid over a long period.... which will mean having visible metal braces on my teeth. Yes, I've already been looking things up online.

I found this "Orthodontics Worldwide" forum over on Discord... it's a strange, yet pleasant, mix of people that HAVE braces, and people that WANT braces (but don't really need them). And no, they are NOT just a bunch of weirdos. Who really cares anyway, because they've been able to tell me some useful information about braces.

Last night, when chatting, one of the "enthusiasts" gave me a link to a web page, which I think could be quite useful to me. It seems that there's a team at the "London University of Dentistry" who are looking for people under 30 (and preferably under 25) with mild orthodontic problems, to take part in a trial of some new orthodontic methods. Whilst it seems there will be some costs involved, it won't be a huge amount.

So I immediately filled in the application form, and took / uploaded a picture of my teeth, and hit the "submit" button.

I guess that it's just a matter of waiting now to see what happens....











Offline antonpm

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Re: Story - Nanite Technology
« Reply #1 on: 06. June 2020, 11:38:11 AM »
Good job Sparky, as always.

Offline bracesfanza

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Re: Story - Nanite Technology
« Reply #2 on: 06. June 2020, 13:37:36 PM »
Very interesting start

Offline heilo

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Re: Story - Nanite Technology
« Reply #3 on: 06. June 2020, 13:45:27 PM »
Nice start! I am looking forward whats coming next!

Offline Headgear-compliance

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Re: Story - Nanite Technology
« Reply #4 on: 07. June 2020, 00:52:00 AM »
I like how much the short first chapter/section already set the stage and provided so much context. I look forward to the next installment! :)

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story - Nanite Technology
« Reply #5 on: 07. June 2020, 12:44:30 PM »
We rejoin Jacob a week or so later....

Chapter 2

I got an email today from the guys who are doing that research at the LUD, they say that I seem to be exactly the sort of person they are looking for - under 25, with what appears to be relatively mild orthodontic problems.

They appreciate that people like me have to work during the day, so have asked if I can go an visit them after work on Thursday, starting at 6:30pm. This won't be a 1-on-1 visit, but there will be a small group of us, all possible patients, and they will explain to us what their project is all about.

And, being aware that we won't have had time to eat, they will be starting the evening with an informal buffet for us. I guess it also gives them and us a chance to meet each other before they explain what they are doing... or trying to do.

I must say that I'm interested to find out what they are doing. I've searched online, but can't find anything about this specific project... I'm aware that as well as teaching basic dentistry and orthodontics, they do a lot of research work, often partnering with industry, but no real details. Maybe this is one of those rather "hush-hush" research projects that their "customer" doesn't want getting out, for money reasons.

My mind has been wandering, thinking about what it is that they could be doing. I'm assuming it's some improvement to existing braces.... less visible brackets maybe? Invisible arch wires? More effective invisible braces? Some sort of "automatic braces" (I've read stories about automatic braces, but so often what we reject as impossible becomes possible a few years later. Heck, the Motorola "flip phone" was inspired by the Star Trek communicator!)


Needless to say I've already sent them a reply, saying that I'll be able to attend on Thursday

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story - Nanite Technology
« Reply #6 on: 14. June 2020, 18:05:56 PM »
Thursday evening....

Chapter 3

As I leave work, I'm both excited and nervous. Excited that I could be involved in some new form of braces. And nervous because of the braces... I mean, whatever braces I get, it's gonna be a bit embarrassing and awkward at first.

I double check the instructions I was sent - London University of Dentistry is in an are of London I've never really been to. The instruction include a map from the 2 local tube stations to where the meeting is.

Instead of catching the 257b bus to go home, I instead catch the 16a for 3 stops to the tube station, then catch the tube into, then out of, the middle of London. It's just before 6:15 when I get out of the tube, and there's a 5 minutes walk to the university. It quickly becomes clear that it's not being held in one of their main building, but a smaller, adjacent building.

On the door there is a small sign "LUD, building 6", and a small sign on a portable metal post next to the door "Orthodontics Research Meeting, please come in".

As I go inside, I see another sign, with a big arrow, pointing me to the left, where I find a small room with a small group of people talking. Seeing me, one of them goes to a table.

"Hello, welcome, please come over here so I can log you in...." he says

"Hi, I'm Jacob.... Jacob Hurley"

"Oh, hello Jacob, I'm Mike Dennis, I'm the one that sent you the email. You're the firt to arrive"

"Oh, hi there, Mike - nice to meet you!"

"So, what do I need to do?"

"Well, first of all, can I give you this name tag - please can you wear it visibly at all times." I took the name tag, and clipped it to my shirt, in a visible place.

"Now, the next bit is a bit more... how shall I say this... delicate. We need to to sign an NDA - that's a 'non-disclosure agreement'. The project we are working on is in conjunction with a large company, and the research is very commercially sensitive, and we don't want any details getting out until we have some results. I appreciate that you might feel a bit nervous about signing this, so we have arranged for an independent solicitor to be here tonight - I hasten to add he's not from the company we normally use, so that he really is independent from us - and you are very welcome to discuss this with him."

"Ok...."

"So, things will be informal until 7:30... so plenty of time to have some food, which is in the room next door. We will be starting a presentation at 7:30, and we will insist that if you want to attend that presentation, then you must have signed the NDA. If there's any problems for you, and maybe you want to see your own solicitor for advice, then that's fine, but you'll need to come back to the second presentation that we're doing next week."

"Ok, that sounds reasonable...."

Mike passed me the NDA paperwork, and one of the others came over to me.

"Hi... er... Jacob" she said, looking at my name tag "Nice to meet you, I'm Sara, I work with Mike.... why don't you come on through and have some food", and she lead me through to the room with the food.

"So, how many people do you expect tonight?" I asked her

"In total, there will be just under 20 of us.... There's six of us on the team, plus there will be 5 or 6 coming from the company that's sponsoring the research, and a total of 7 possible patients, like yourself." As we chatted, I looked at the food - clearly being sponsored by a large company had its perks, as the food was not just a bunch of cheap sandwiches. For example, I could see small squares of bread with salmon or prawns on. Vol-au-vents. All that sort of stuff."

As I took a plate, and started to put a few items onto it, a smartly dressed gent, I guessed in his early 30s, came into the room.

"Ah" said Sara, "this is the solicitor gentleman Mike mentioned... Mr.... er... Jones" she said, referring to his name tag.

"Good evening, Jacob, I'm Ryan Jones, and I'm a solicitor. As you've probably been told, my company or I do not normally do work for the LUD. So far we've provided independent advice at 2 previous events like this... and there's another one next week, but that's it. I've had a chance to read the NDA, so I suggest that you sit down and take a few minutes to read it, it's neither especially long nor complicated - basically it says you mustn't tell anyone the details of the treatment that they are working on here. There's a quiet room next door you can use to read and sign it, and I'm very happy to discuss the NDA with you, if you want to. Now, let me grab some of this food - as ever, a splendid spread, it's amazing what industrial sponsorship can do!"

We exchanged a few more pleasantries, then I did as he suggested, and went and sat down for a few minutes in the next room, and read the NDA. It was written in pretty simple and plain language, and it said pretty much as Ryan had said: I must not give any details of the project that I might be told or learn to anyone outside of the project team. If anyone else related to the research needed to speak with me, then a member of the team would let me know what I could talk about.

Ryan walked in to the room. "need any help?" he asked in a friendly manner.

"No, I think I'm ok, I guess I'd better sign it"

"Just be aware that it means that you're not allowed to tell anyone about things, including family, close friends, even girl- or boyfriends. You'll be able to talk in vaguely general terms, but no details. The only 2 exception to that is that you are 100% allowed to talk to a legal representative, like a solicitor, or to a doctor - both of whom are bound by client priviledge."

"That sounds reasonable, I guess.... what happens if there's problems, do you know?"

"Well, they will have their own health and legal teams available - I'm sure they'll explain that in their presentation - that you'll be able to contact"

"But won't they just be working for the University?" I asked

"Well, yes and no... you work for a company I assume? It's like if there's a company issue you're involved with, you would speak with the company's solicitors, but there would never be anything stopping you getting your own advice."

"Ah, ok...."

"Unfortunately I can't really say much more than that, as I have no idea what the actual treatment will include, but I would say that it's a pretty fair NDA".

So, I signed the NDA, took it back to Mike, and then went back into the "social" room, where there were now several more people.

"Oh, hello again" said Sara, who was with 3 other people. "This is my colleague, Rushil, and these are Susan and Prisha, they are like you, potential patients"

"Hi, I'm Jacob" I said introducing myself. Susan had her lips closed, but Prisha's lips were apart, and I could see that she had some very slightly twisted and protruding front teeth.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story - Nanite Technology
« Reply #7 on: 23. June 2020, 20:45:09 PM »
7:25 pm....


Chapter 4

Someone was knocking loudly on the table, to gain our attention (and to tell us all to stop talking!)

"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for completing the NDA forms so promptly. We will be starting the presentation in 5 minutes, in the room across the corridor: the presentation will last for about an hour, and then you'll have an opportunity to speak to members of the team, and ask questions. The toilets are down the corridor - they're well signposted - if you need them. And feel free to bring a drink through with you"

For the last - almost an hour - I had been able to eat some very nice food, and chat with many members of the team, as well as all of the other potential patients.

We seemed to come from various backgrounds, but with one common thing: we all had minor orthodontic issues, and were looking for a relatively inexpensive way to get treated. We were all interested to hear what this treatment would involve, especially as none of the team members we had spoken with had give any indication what they were researching. Any questions had been gently deflected with responses along the lines "sorry, I can't talk about that yet, but you should find the presentation will answer most of your questions....."

I went and used the toilet, then grabbed a new bottle of water, and went into the presentation.

The presentation was a mix of videos, slides, and talking. It started by explaining a lot of background about traditional orthodontics, about modern methods being investigated and that sort of thing. Then, there was a short video about the company sponsoring the research - a bio-tech company that I'd never heard of, but seemed to be a part of a pretty big conglomerate.

Finally, there was a fascinating video, followed by a slide presentation, about the recent advances in nano-technology, and its potential uses in humans. In this specific case, they were researching the use of nanotech in orthodontics - straightening teeth.

It seems these little bio-nanite things - partly micro electronics, partly machine, partly artificial biological things - could be programmed to inter-work with the body to carry out and accelerate certain things within the body. Apparently there was already research happening in other fields, doing things like clearing blood clots.

Their research here, which was in the very ealy days, was related to the use of the technology to move teeth. A lot of work had been done with animals, with great success, so now they wanted to try the technology on humans.

Yes, us!

They planned to try several ideas. Some might include using the nanites to assist with existing methods - so speeding up the effects of having metal or invisible braces. Other ideas included methods that didn't actually involve braces at all.

"So, maybe now you can understand why it's so important that you don't tell ANYONE what our research is about. If we are successful, then the technology we develop could be worth billions in the future"

Having had the technology explained to us, Mike (who I met earlier) took over, and explained many of the practicalities of the research. Regular visits to them, at a time convenient to us, so probably evenings. We would need to keep notes about anything and everything that happened to us. Video calls in between visits. He also explained what we could tell people: "You can tell people that you are part of a research project. That it involves orthodontic treatment. But no details of any sort, please"

"So, thank you all for being so patient, and listening to our presentations. There's now a chance to talk more informally, and ask us questions... plus with any luck, the sandwiches should have been replaced by a simple help-yourself bar: so help yourselves, and don't feel you need to rush off - we'd all like to learn more about you all."

I wasn't sure whether to be excited or scared.... nanotechnology was a thing that you read in books or saw in sci-fi films, I'd never realised quite how advanced this nano-technology actually was. And *I* would be getting some of this nano-technology in my body!

Would that mean I was taking the first steps to be a cyborg?

Offline Taxy

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Re: Story - Nanite Technology
« Reply #8 on: 24. June 2020, 15:26:34 PM »
Can't wait to see where this story goes. Its got a lot of different routes it could take. I'd imagine it'd be something like appliances that reconstruct themselves at random to fit the patient, so every day he wakes up with a different appliance in his mouth! Or maybe some complex self tightening braces!
Looking forward to more!

Offline Braceme

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Re: Story - Nanite Technology
« Reply #9 on: 24. June 2020, 16:30:31 PM »
Great setup! I love the stories where big things seem to have little impact on someone’s life (e.g. trying to go about life as normal with a huge lisp) and the little things matter greatly (nanotech causing big pain? Major restrictions on what the patient can do? I can’t wait to find out!)

Offline elio23145

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Re: Story - Nanite Technology
« Reply #10 on: 19. July 2020, 19:12:40 PM »
great one! is there new chapter soon??

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story - Nanite Technology
« Reply #11 on: 22. July 2020, 23:33:22 PM »
Chapter 5

Back home, later that evening, I had a good think about what was on offer, and decided that I WOULD be interested if they offered me treatment.

The next day, Friday, I got an email from Mike Dennis (he's one of the guys I met yesterday evening), asking me to call them at a convenient time, to organise visiting them with a view to treatment. So during lunch, I found a quiet corner, and called him. He explained that the initial visit would be go through things with me again, then examine me in detail, take multiple X-Rays, take a load of close-up pictures, and scan my teeth.

"Scan my teeth?" I asked

"Yes, we no longer take moulds with alginate, we have a thing called a 'wand' that has a tiny camera inside, and it taked pictures, and the computer converts in into a 3-D image of your teeth"

"Oh, cool...."

"Then, we need to understand what actually needs to be done... what 'treatment' you'll need, although we're hoping that you won't actually need any form of traditional braces treatment. And I should add that, untill you actually START the treatment, you can back out at any time, if you have any concerns. So, when would be convenient for you to come and visit us? I believe you work, so I'm assuming you'd prefer an evening?"

"Yes, I do the normal 9:00 to 5:30, then just under an hour to get to you...."

"Ok, well it's Friday today, would you be able to make Monday at around 6:30? Don't worry if you're a bit early or late, we'll be here!"

"Monday, 6:30, yeah, I can do that"

"Oh, by the way, do remember to keep a note of your travel costs, we can refund that, including for last night. If you use an Oyster or a card, you can get an online total of your travel.". We chatted for a few minutes more, about fairly irrelevant things"

"Well, I look forward to seeing you again on Monday" said Mike.