Graphene Cytobot - Cyborg Bacterial Spores May Help Astronauts

Cyborg bacterial spores festooned with quantum dots - cytobots - leverage their extreme sensitivity to changes in humidity. It's a bacterial spore with quantum dots on its cell membrane that generate an electrical charge when the cell expands and shrinks depending on the humidity in the surrounding environment. The device may be able to detect leaks in the International Space Station, among other applications.


(Cyborg bacterial spores with quantum dots - cytobots)

At the tiny scale of a single cell, measuring movements isn’t easy. So the researchers wanted to find a way to get the clearest signal about a particular environmental condition—in this case, humidity—based on how much a cell moves in response to it. The researchers chose a particularly sensitive kind of cell, a spore of the bacterium Bacillus, and placed two quantum dots on its cell membrane. Quantum dots are tiny conductors that can efficiently transfer signals from one medium to another.

The researchers attached electrodes to either end of the spore and measured the dots’ conductivity; when the humidity was lower, the spore would contract and bring the quantum dots closer, which would create a spike in the conductivity reading. Each time the researchers changed the humidity around the spore, they saw a clear change in the readings, with a response rate 10 times faster than the most advanced water-absorbing sensors, they said.

Such rapid and sensitive humidity readings could be useful for conditions where changes in humidity could spell disaster, like to detect leaks in space.

Robert Heinlein thought about this problem. In his 1948 short story Gentlemen, Be Seated, he described life in a lunar habitat. And the inevitable air leaks.

There were perhaps a dozen bladder-like objects in the tunnel, the size and shape of toy balloons. They seemed to displace exactly their own weight of air; they floated without displaying much tendency to rise or settle. Konski batted one out of his way and answered me before I could ask.

"This piece of tunnel was pressurized today," he told me.

"These tag-alongs search out stray leaks. They're sticky inside. They get sucked up against a leak, break, and the goo gets sucked in, freezes and seals the leak."
(Read more about Heinlein's tag-alongs)

As far as I know, the first sf writer to combine electronic and tiny portions of living systems to create new products was Philip K. Dick.

As far as every day consumer products are concerned, you can't beat the Ampek F-a2 Recording System:

Nat Flieger reflexively poured water into a cup and fed the living protoplasm incorporated into the Ampek F-a2 recording system which he kept in his office; the Ganymedean life form did not experience pain and had not yet objected to being made over into a portion of an electronic system... neurologically it was primitive, but as an auditory receptor it was unexcelled.

(Read more about Dick's Ampek F-a2 Recording System)

Readers in their second decade of enjoying Technovelgy.com may recall a very similar idea from 2005 - 'Cellborg' Humidity Gauge First Bacterial Cyborg .

Via PopSci.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/15/2015)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.' - Michael Crichton, 1985.

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.' - Vernor Vinge, 2001.

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Moving Suns To Different Galactic Neighborhoods
'...to swerve their star from its course, the globemen made use of a simple physical principle.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1928.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Via Virtual Reality, Mother Encounters Deceased Daughter
'But that barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'

Clothes That Do Photosyntheisis
'Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture...'

Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.'

CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts
'... in some departments their power is absolute.'

Qbit Robot Bartender Also Makes Coffee
'...he sipped the cognac that the robot bartender handed him.'

Moving Desks Not SciFi After All
'Charged with hope, he zipped from stack to stack...'

Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).

Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'

Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'

Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'

The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'

Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.