In a recent post, I riffed about the crowd-funding of scientific experiments. I don’t riff often, so I hope you enjoyed that.
Now I’m going to ruff, as in the sound a dog makes.
The subject is still crowd-funding, though.
It’s about a company called SynDaver which has been very successful in the medical research arena by supplying medical schools and research facilities with patients to experiment on. I don’t mean in the 19th Century sense of digging up some fresh graves, or hanging around while convicted felons are hanging around.
No, SynDaver has brought cadaver procurement into the 21st Century by creating a wholly synthetic human being, and by that I do not mean Melanie Griffith. These are bodies with beating hearts, and circulating blood, and functioning organs, and no means by which to sue for malpractice. This enables med students to screw up all they want. In fact, they can be operated on over and over again (the bodies, not the med students) just like a real human with a good medical plan.
You can order one of your own (a body, not a med student) from the SynDaver Catalogue right now for a mere $40,000. And, yes, there really is a catalogue because, again, just like real humans, SynDavers come in different models. Only instead of, say, Kate Moss, Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid, SynDavers come in the Patient Model, the Anatomy Model, the Surgical Model and the Mortuary Model, which, I’m guessing, is less expensive, since it doesn’t need the beating heart, circulating blood, etc.
Also, in case you can’t afford $40,000, you can purchase individual parts, just like in the Purdue chicken section of the grocery store, except with much more variety. Not only can you buy legs, you can also get your hands on arms, coronary arteries and double layer bowels. All your major organs are available, too, in case you’ve managed to create some fake onions and you want a synthetic liver to go with them.
Right about now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “This is all very interesting, but the title of this post implied that it was going to be about puppies, otherwise I wouldn’t have started reading it. And where does the crowd-sourcing come in?”
Well, that all has to do with SynDaver’s newest product, the synthetic dog. SynDaver is on
the website indiegogo, and it’s counting on all you animal lovers out there to come up with $24 million so that it can supply up to 20 synthetic dogs for free to every veterinary school in the world. This, the company says, will greatly reduce the use of shelter dogs which are then euthanized. Not incidentally, it will also provide SynDaver with $24 million in sales.
The best part about this fundraising campaign are the perks you can get in exchange for your pledge, all of which are actually being offered. For instance, pledge just $500 and you can get a brain. I’m not talking about one of those plastic models here; this is a genuine synthetic brain that you can “display proudly as one of the most unique talking pieces in the workplace…” When you have one of these, try to keep track of how many times each day that idiot Roscoe from Accounting comes into your office to ask if he can pick your brain.
Or, for the ultimate “talking piece,” donate $1,000 to get an entire SynDaver Synthetic Canine head, complete with a Plexiglas display case so you can show it off without having it leak head stuff on your desk. “By getting this perk,” says the indiegogo page, “you will be able to say you supported the changing of technology in the veterinary education world.” I’m not sure who you will be able to say this to, since not too many people will be coming to see you when you have this terrifying thing laying around.
$2,000 gets you a framed, autographed photo of Dr. Chris Sakazles’ appearance on the TV show Shark Tank. Sakazles is the founder of SynDaver, and the photo is of him and all the Shark Tank investors standing around one of SynDaver’s corpse copies. (Sakazles struck a deal with Robert Herjavec in which the shark agreed to invest $3 million for a 25% stake in the company. It later fell apart like a synthetic body that has had its spleen removed one too many times.)
Finally, for $2,500, you can be one of only 1,000 people who gets to name one of the early SynDaver Synthetic Canine production models.
May I suggest calling it Fauxdo?
See you soon.