The idea of preserving one’s brain and body until technology can reverse the effects of illnesses, injuries, or old age isn’t new, and there are already cryogenic companies that freeze people after they die. But one startup believes their process could preserve your memories, but you have to be alive for it to work, and the process will kill you.
Nectome, a startup funded by Y Combination and located in Silicon Valley, takes a similar stance to other cryogenics companies, aiming to preserve the brain and body until technology can bring a person back to life.
However, while most cryogenic companies wait for a person to die before freezing them, Nectome, according to a report by Popular Mechanics, needs you to be alive at the time of the procedure, and the company’s approach will kill you in the process.
Nectome uses a complex chemical cocktail to take a person’s brain and convert the living cells into a ball of frozen glass. In theory, the approach would preserve all of the neutral connections, potentially allowing future scientists to recreate them.
The company’s mission is “to preserve your brain well enough to keep all of its memories intact: from that great chapter of your favorite book to the feeling of cold air, baking an apple pie, or have dinner with your friends and family.”
“We believe that within the current century it will be feasible to digitize this information and use it to recreate your consciousness,” says Nectome’s mission statement.
Since killing you is part of the process, Nectome is treating its services as a form of doctor-assisted suicide, which is deemed legal in California.
The hope is that patients suffering from terminal illnesses will choose this alternative, giving them a chance to be brought back to life once science can rid them of their malady, effectively resurrecting the person.
Nectome is still researching the complicated state and federal legal systems surrounding their actions, as it could potentially be classified as murder if handled improperly.
However, people interested in the process can send the company a $10,000 deposit, which Nectome says is “100% refundable,” and be placed on the company’s waiting list.