'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 ")

Flying Defibrillator Ambulance Drone
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'- Frederk Pohl, 1965.

Erased Memories In A Flash Of Light
'Someone, probably at a government military-sciences lab, erased his conscious memories...'- Philip K. Dick, 1966.

'Artificial Spleen' Cleans The Blood
'The workability of wholly mechanical organs... '- Philip K. Dick, 1964.

PrintAlive Bioprinter 3D Printed Skin Grafts Video
'Over her lacerated right shoulder he sprayed art-deem...'- 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

Foodini 3D Printer
''...Food slot gave him flat reddish-brown bricks.'

Parrot Bebop Drone Pairs With Your Smartphone
'Over a radius of several miles Sonya's raytron apparatus could direct its flight [using] an image of all that the lens eye saw.'

SCRIBE Enables Distributed Genomically Encoded Memory
Genomic DNA for analog, rewritable, and flexible memory.

Artisanal 3D Printing By Martha Stewart
'Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance.'

Knightscope Robot Security Guards Ready
'A robot guard appeared, streaking toward them across the field.'

Bullet-Proof Kevlar Woven Electronics
'Check the watch imprinted on his sleeve...'

USAF 'BATMAN' Wrist Display
'The tiny screen in the bracelet's center...'

CoBots - Collaborative Robots Ask Humans For Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify... You give it a good look.'

Shape-Shifting Carbon Fiber
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'

'Digital Drugs' (Like Herbert's Semuta?) Dismays Saudis
'The effect (described as timeless, sustained ecstasy) is elicited by certain atonal vibrations...'

Mind Control Of Gene Expression In Mice
'We used your thought images almost entirely...'

Nixie Wrist-Ready Flying Selfie-Cam Drone
'He set his camera to follow him...'

DARPA Wants Airborne Launch Facility For Drones
This was tried with recon craft in WWII.

Lit Motors Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'

Neuromorphic Brain-Chip Takes Flight
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

What Are Robots Thinking?
'Your clothes... give them to me.'

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.