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 ")

'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.

Does Earth's Middle Mantle Hold Oceans Of Water?
Al Gore, you have no idea.

Anti AI AI Wearable Detects Artificial Voices
Combats another wearable, the voice-changing bowtie.

Drones Will Transform Cities
Where we're going, we don't use roads.

 

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

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'

Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?

Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...

Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'

'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.

Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.'

Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...'

Poli-X1 Prototype Bee Pollinator
Is there anything drones can't do?

Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...'

DeepMind AI Baffled By Homer Simpson, Needs Human Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off...'

Does Earth's Middle Mantle Hold Oceans Of Water?
Al Gore, you have no idea.

Vaccine Blocks Heroin High
'You're biochemically incapable of getting off...'

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.