'Cellborg' Humidity Gauge First Bacterial Cyborg

Chemists at the University of Nebraska have created a humidity gauge by actually 'assimilating' living bacteria into an electronic circuit. This appears to be the first instance in which a living cell becomes a fixed part of the structure of an electronic device.


('Cellborg' - first bacterial cyborg)

Ravi Saraf and student Vikas Berry made their device from a standard silicon chip inlaid with gold electrodes. First they added a coating of Bacillus cereus bacteria, which clustered together to form bridges between the electrodes. Then they washed the chip with a solution of gold particles, each of which measured about 30 nanometres across and was covered with peptides to help it stick to the bacteria.

A rise in moisture levels causes the bacteria to swell slightly, which increases the distance between neighbouring nanoparticles by up to 0.2 nanometres. This tiny separation makes it harder for electrons to hop from one particle to the next, which reduces the current flowing across the chip. A change from 20% to 0% humidity increased the current flowing through the device by 40 times, whereas the current in a solely electronic device decreases by just ten times.

The bacteria must stay alive during their assimilation so that they do not leak any internal fluids and lose their shape. According to Saraf, the bacteria can survive for about two days without nutrients. However, the device continues to work even after the bacteria die; the zombie 'borg-teria' continue to work for as long as a month after death.


(Hugh - the Borg drone)

Science fiction fans are well aware of the 'cellborgs' namesake - the Borg collective of cyborgs (cybernetic organisms) who stop at nothing in their relentless pursuit of assimilating other intelligent organisms.

In the series (and associated films), captured human beings are outfitted with mechanical and electrical parts that will make them serviceful to the collective.

Saraf speculates that similar devices could one day be made that take greater advantage of living organisms, perhaps even using bacteria's energy systems to power electrical devices. But that will involve going one step further: using a physiological rather than physical response of a bacteria. "One still needs to demonstrate that an electronic coupling between the biology of the microorganism and a nanodevice is possible," he adds.

Read Cyborg cells sense humidity.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/18/2005)

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 ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

BRUISE Smart Injury Detection Suit
'... Bee could see that three of them were disabled and two of them damaged.' - Orson Scott Card, 1985.

First US Clinical Trial For Wearable Artificial Kidney
'Wholly mechanical organs...' - Philip K. Dick, 1964.

Open Bionics To Produce Deus Ex Prosthetic Designs
Be a part of a science fictional future.

Skingun Now More Advanced, Apparently
'Over her lacerated right shoulder he sprayed art-derm...' - Philip K. Dick, 1960.

 

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

Brick By Brick, Building Martian Bases
Don't try to boost everything from the surface of the Earth.

SpotMini Robot Pierson's Puppeteer-Style
Now they're kind of cute, right?

Elon Musk et. al. OpenAI Household Robot
'Any work a human being does around a house.'

BRUISE Smart Injury Detection Suit
'... Bee could see that three of them were disabled and two of them damaged.'

Tesla Model S Is Also A Boat (Sort Of)
'This Dick Dare contraption of yours...'

Promobot, The Runaway Russian Robot!
'Got yourself a runaway, Jack?'

Rowbot Small Autonomous Farm Robot
'...The tiny red glints of self-guided tractors.'

Amazon's Alexa To Recognize Emotions
Oh, Hal understood their emotions, all right.

Cool 'Single-Person Spaceships' Have Better SF Name
'A cabin so small, you couldn't stand up with the air lock closed..'

First Robot Suicide Has Science Fiction Roots
'What had happened to prevent my death?'

First US Clinical Trial For Wearable Artificial Kidney
'Wholly mechanical organs...'

Open Bionics To Produce Deus Ex Prosthetic Designs
Be a part of a science fictional future.

Human-Carrying Drone Taxi 184 Approved For Test Flights
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble...'

Skating On Mars' Frozen Pools
'They went down, put on their skates, and started.'

Google Working On A 'Cutoff Switch' For AI
'A remote control, so you can pull the plug on Hal whenever you want to.'

Vi Artificially Intelligent Personal Trainer
Wakey wakey!

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.