'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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
EDSAP Wearable Stroke Detection
'His Altec cephalochromoscope, around which he had built the pleasure part of his schedule...'- Philip K. Dick, 1977.
In Vivo Micromotors Powered By Stomach Acid
First in vivo study of artificial micromotors.
Patient Walks Out With Fully Artificial Heart
'The throb of the robot pump gave him confidence...'- Philip K. Dick, 1960.
Radisens' Gemini Instant Blood Tests
It's a step toward a universal medical testing device.
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.
CreoPop 3D Pen Draws In Midair
'It makes drawings in the air...'
Seattle Police Body Cams, Ala Stross, Ala Dick
'Let's hear it for the vague blur!'
Autonomous Cars Will Own Themselves
'The robot drew his cab up before Eric's modest six-room bungalow.'
World's First 3D Printed Villa
'It makes drawings in the air following drawings...'
Hyperloop Track Starts Next Year
Brainflight Brain-Controlled Drone
'Mr Gant, you must think in Russian. Can you do that?'
Students Control Lab Experiments Remotely Via App
'Hello, Europa... Is this your robot I'm looking at, in sector 94?'
ROBEAR Nursing Care Robot
What other robots are strong enough to carry you? Do you want them to do so?
Testing New Spacesuits In 1929 And 2015
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
Space Station Kitchens 1929 and 2015
'Plates and cups ... slowly floated down to the floor and were not broken.'
Volvo's 'Drive Me' Program Offers Autonomous Cars In 2017
'She woke just before the signal from the car which would have called her...'
Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry
'You can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial...'
Neptune Duo Smartwatch Wearable Wristband
'[He] pressed several buttons on the wide bracelet he wore upon his left wrist...'
FAA Drone Rules Beta Ready For Comments
Drones, big and small, you're going to like them all.
'Cortical Modem' Latest On DARPA's Wishlist
'...inside his skull... is a little cylinder, that neuronic receptor-transmitter.'
The Martians Are On Their Way!
'Dense clouds of smoke or dust, visible through a powerful telescope on earth...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories