Critical Overview: Wetware is a term that has been used to describe the merging of software, hardware, and biology in various ways over the years. Initially, it was used to draw a comparison between software code and genetic code, where an organism’s DNA, which is physically wet, resembles software instructions. The term has since evolved to encompass devices that interact or merge with biological material, such as thought-controlled devices, brain-harnessed super devices, and biological engineering. Wetware attempts to merge or closely associate software-based elements with physical biology, similar to how augmented reality merges the physical and virtual realms.
How Wetware Is Used: The primary focus of wetware seems to be in the area of health, with potential applications ranging from wearables that connect to the body from the outside to implantables that are positioned under the skin. Wetware devices use special software to connect to and read biological outputs, and some aim to improve the human experience rather than simply monitor it. For example, a brain-computer connection might be used to move artificial limbs when the user doesn’t have biological control over them. Devices that can edit genes are another example of wetware, physically changing the organism to remove existing infections, prevent diseases, or potentially add new features or capabilities to the DNA.
Other practical uses for human-connected software or hardware might include exoskeleton suits, contactless payment systems or ID cards that relay information wirelessly through the skin, bionic eyes that stimulate vision, and remote-operated drug delivery devices that doctors can use to control doses of medicine. Wetware is also sometimes used to describe man-made objects that closely resemble biological organisms or software/hardware that can be manipulated by gestures, particularly those that come from a biological implant.
Conclusion: Wetware refers to the merging of software, hardware, and biology and attempts to closely associate software-based elements with physical biology. The term has evolved over time to encompass devices that interact or merge with biological material, with primary applications in the area of health. Wetware devices use special software to connect to and read biological outputs, and some aim to improve the human experience rather than simply monitor it. The term is also used to describe man-made objects that closely resemble biological organisms, software/hardware that can be manipulated by gestures, and even the people involved in dealing with software, such as software developers and IT workers.