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 .
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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Smellicopter Combines Live Moth Antenna With Mechanical Drone
'The organic tissue is inserted in the master tank and then sealed.' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.
DARPA's Virtual Caves Explored By Virtual Robots
'If there's anything in here worth looking at, these pups'll find it.' - Ridley Scott, 2012.
Samsung Gets Transparent Smartphone Patent
The Transparency of Things to Come
Jet-Powered Flying Suits Tested By Navy
'With his motor in operation, he moves like a diver, head foremost...' - Philip Frances Nowlan, 1928.
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.
DALL-E Makes Creative Images From Text
Okay, sf fans. If you could have some art created from a science fiction sentence, what sentence would you pick?
BladeBUG Robots Clean Massive Wind Turbine Blades
'There were the cleaners, with large padded feet, who were apparently polishing their way the whole length...'
Looms To Manually Weave Lunar Rover Wheels
It's fascinating to me how the Apollo program forced people to think outside their usual boxes.
IceBot Antarctic (Planetary?) Robotic Explorers Made Of Ice
'Some will combine in place to form more complicated structures, like excavators or centipedes.'
Glad 2020 Is Over
Maybe you missed one of these?
PEDOT Polymer Could Enhance Brain-Machine Interfaces
'the hair-fine wire going deep into Owen's brain, down into the pleasure center.'
Study: Robots Encourage Humans To Take Risks
Not exactly Three Laws compliant.
Kinetic Buildings And Psychotropic Houses
'There was a dim whirring, and the spheres tipped and began to rotate...'
Jupe Urban Escape Pods Have Tesla, SpaceX Roots
'The houses are prefabricated units... and they sell at the flat rate of five hundred dollars a room — set up.'
Best Robot Dance Video Of 2020
'I can Mashed Potato... I can do the Twist.'
Vertical Farm In Singapore's Output Is 1.5 Tons Per Day
'A towering eighty-story structure like the office "In-and-Out" baskets stacked up to the sky.'
3D Printed 'Blisk' Manufactured In Orbit
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'
Comercial Airlock 'Bishop' Now On ISS
'They put the bones and the glass can that had contained the soup into the double-doored partition or vestibule...'
Space Station Could Use Some Martian Sawgrass
'What better purifying machine is there than a plot of grass?'
ARTUu AI Copilot For USAF
'A series of short beep's and chirps issued from his speaker...'
Smellicopter Combines Live Moth Antenna With Mechanical Drone
'The organic tissue is inserted in the master tank and then sealed.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories