'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 ")

Implants Melt In Your Brain, Not In Your Hands
Implant and forget - they melt in your brain, not in your hands.

MIT's Second Skin Enhances Original Skin
'I must care, or I wouldn't live in this lying skin suit...' - John Varley, 1983.

Artificial Skin Grows Hair
'Plastissue, as any fool can see...' - WF Wallace, 1952.

Virtual Reality Therapy Helps Patients With Depression
Entering the virtual reality dreams of patients.

 

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

Otto Self-Driving Truck Kits
'Trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'

Humans Help Robots Identify Recyclables
'You give it a good look... then press the right button and in she goes.'

Is This Robotic Hand As Quick As Yours?
'V-Stephen's surgeon-hand, a self-contained robot of precision quality...'

DARPA's XS-1 Spaceplane
'They were more airplane than spaceship...'

Douglas Adams Your Babel Fish Is Ready - The Pilot By Waverly
'You'll need to have this fish in your ear.'

OMG! DIY Arduino Robot Vacuum Cleaner Like Bradbury's Mice
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'

NASA Culturing ISS Walls For Microbes
'Collect organisms and dust for study...'

Siemens 3D Printing Robot Spiders
'The eight thin metallic legs were pointed downwards, balanced delicately...'

Implants Melt In Your Brain, Not In Your Hands
Implant and forget - they melt in your brain, not in your hands.

Baby Boomers Will LOVE Autonomous Cars (Trust Me!)
'Old people began to cross the continent in their own cars....'

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet Tests His Suit
'The interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

DIY Method To Summon Tesla With Amazon Echo
'Thomas focussed the violet beam of a hand flash on a plate...'

AI Lawyer 'Ross' Gets First Job
'Why don't we just feed the bloody thing to LEX...'

MIT's Second Skin Enhances Original Skin
'I must care, or I wouldn't live in this lying skin suit...'

CommU Robot Children Scare Me
'Is David malfunctioning?'

VelociRoACH Insect Robots Cooperate
'They wheeled and turned in macabre simultaneity...'

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.