I recently read an article about the U.S. military looking to cord blood to provide blood transplants to soldiers in the field. The military recently contracted with Arteriocyte to fund research into a machine that will take cord blood stem cells, expand them and convert them to red blood cells.
The military expects these red blood cells to be universal donor cells, allowing military health-care providers to manufacture and transfuse blood in the field. This would allow for fresh blood transplants, while eliminating the need for storage and transportation of blood samples as well as blood typing and other health limitations that currently make in-theater transplants a challenge.
This technology may eventually lead to obsolescence for blood donations. Technology that is funded for the government or the military often ends up being used in civilian applications. This technology may be tailor made for this.