Tag Archives: biotech

Nano-generators can harvest electricity from your blood

from io9:

New nano-generators can turn mechanical energy – like that of flowing blood – into electricity needed to power nanobots.

The tiny generators are the brainchild of Dr. Yong Shi, a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stevens Institute of Technology. They make use of a technology known as piezoelectric nanofibers, which are minuscule wires that are able to harness nearby mechanical energy (basically the energy of motion) and turn it into electrical energy. Each wire measures half a millimeter long and just 60 billionths of a meter in diameter.

Researchers create biodegradable self-assembling DNA nanodevices that move and change shape

from Harvard Medical School:

By emulating nature’s design principles, a team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has created nanodevices made of DNA that self-assemble and can be programmed to move and change shape on demand.

In contrast to existing nanotechnologies, these programmable nanodevices are highly suitable for medical applications because DNA is both biocompatible and biodegradable.

The work appears in the June 20 advance online Nature Nanotechnology.

First human ‘infected with computer virus’

from BBC:

A British scientist says he is the first man in the world to become infected with a computer virus. Dr Mark Gasson from the University of Reading contaminated a computer chip which was then inserted into his hand.

Dr Gasson admits that the test is a proof of principle but he thinks it has important implications for a future where medical devices such as pacemakers and cochlear implants become more sophisticated, and risk being contaminated by other human implants.

DNA nanomachines could be produced inexpensively in almost limitless quantities

from EurekAlert:

DURHAM, N.C. – In a single day, a solitary grad student at a lab bench can produce more simple logic circuits than the world’s entire output of silicon chips in a month.

So says a Duke University engineer, who believes that the next generation of these logic circuits at the heart of computers will be produced inexpensively in almost limitless quantities. The secret is that instead of silicon chips serving as the platform for electric circuits, computer engineers will take advantage of the unique properties of DNA, that double-helix carrier of all life’s information.

“Like neurons in the brain”: A molecular computer that evolves

from h+ Magazine: (Previously covered here)

The press release from Michigan Tech asserts that it is “the first time a brain-like ‘evolutionary circuit’ has been realized.”

His new molecular computer uses an organic molecular layer and can evolve to solve complex problems, similar to neurons. Like the human brain — and unlike any existing computer — the tiny molecular computer heals itself if there is a defect.

Anirban Bandyopadhyay, from the Japanese National Institute for Materials Science, explains: “No existing man-made computer has this property, but our brain does. If a neuron dies, another neuron takes over its function.”

Researchers develop new brain-like molecular processor

from ZDnet:

An international research team from Japan and Michigan Technological University have demonstrated a molecular circuit that can evolve continuously to solve complex problems that challenge today’s supercomputers.

The massively parallel circuit contains a layer of molecular switches (monolayer) that simultaneously interact in a manner similar to the information processing performed by the neurons in the human brain. That is, they can evolve to tackle complex problems. That’s because information processing circuits in digital computers are static, and operate serially.

By 2020: 20 million chips implanted into living cells with computer controlled movement


What looks possible by 2020 if the research from five different research groups can be combined ?

Here is the five things to combine-

1. Montreal researchers have created computer controlled bacteria to make nanopyramids.

Magnetic nanoparticles under computer control – determine how the cilia operate.

2. Other researchers have placed 3 micron X 3 micron by half a micron chips inside living cells and

3. in the same article as number 2 other researchers have used magnetized nanoparticles to control cells and hold them in desired positions and shapes

4. From the exclusive nextbigufuture interview with an executive from Tilera, a company that makes One hundred core CPUs that use 7 times less energy for the same processing power as Intel chips.

Tilera forecast making 3D cube chips with 1000 cores by 2020.

5. Memristor-CMOS hybrid chips are close – probably first one commercial within 3 years.

Read on…

“Wet computer” that mimics neurons to be created

from whatisartificialintelligence.com:

The project “Wet computer” also known as Chemical or Molecular computing is a form of computational model that mimics the characteristics of the human cells, particularly the brain cells called neurons.

As described by Dr. Klaus-Peter Zauner, project collaborator of the University of Southampton, “wet computer” takes advantage of the lipid-forming characteristic of stable “cells” that forms a coating spontaneously and uses chemistry to establish interactions among these cells similar to that of human neurons.

Bionic eye on the horizon

from Tel Aviv University (via Machines Like Us)

Prof. Yael Hanein of Tel Aviv University’s School of Electrical Engineering has foundational research that may give sight to blind eyes, merging retinal nerves with electrodes to stimulate cell growth.

She’s developed a spaghetti like mass of nano-sized (one-millionth of a millimetre) carbon tubes, and using an electric current has managed to coax living neurons from the brains of rats to grow on this man-made structure.

Video: Light-controlled mouse brain

from Singularity Hub:

What do you get when you combine microorganisms and fiber optics? Mind control over mice and rats.

A fiber optic cable is connected into a living mouse or rat with the spliced genes allowing scientists to expose different neurons to different lights.

Future bio-nanotechnology will use computer chips inside living cells

from nano werk:

With transistors the size of tens of nanometers, researchers have begun to explore the interface of biology and electronics by integrating nanoelectronic components and living cells.

If the current rate of miniaturization continues, by 2020 approximately 2,500 transistors – equivalent to microprocessors of the first generation of personal computers – could fit into the area of a typical living cell.

Nanotech contact lens monitors diabetes by changing color w/ glucose level in tears

from Singularity Hub:

Professor Jin Zhang at the University of Western Ontario has developed contact lenses that would change color as the user’s glucose levels varied.

The new device is made by embedding nanoparticles into standard hydrogel.

Arteries blocked? Just take a pill & grow new ones

from Futurity:

YALE (US)—A new method for growing arteries could lead to a less invasive way to treat coronary artery disease.

“Instead of using growth factors, we stopped the inhibitor mechanism by using a drug that targets a particular enzyme called PI3-kinase inhibitor.“Because we’ve located this inhibitory pathway, this opens the possibility of developing a new class of medication to grow new arteries,” Simons adds.

New sensors built using nanotech could read and write information directly into the brain

from EVOKER:

Telecommunications researchers in Japan are attempting to create electronic sensors that can not only receive information from the brain, but could manipulate our neural pathways.

“Establishing connections between the brain and electrical instruments is important for understanding how the brain works and for controlling neural activity,” says Torimitsu, who heads NTT’s Molecular and Bioscience Group.

Tiny chip made of paper diagnoses diseases and costs just a penny

from PopSci:

A Harvard University chemist has created a prototype “chip” technology out of paper that could help diagnose HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases for just a penny each time, according to CNN.

A drop of blood on one side of the paper chip results in a colorful tree-like pattern that tells physicians or nurses whether a person has certain diseases. Water-repellent comic-book ink helps channel the blood into the tree-like pattern, as several layers of treated paper react to the blood and create the telling colors.

Argus III – The artificial retina is near!

from Singularity Hub:

Argus seeks to create an epiretinal prosthesis, a device that will take the image from a camera and send it to your brain via your optic nerve.

The first two phases of Argus (which we call Argus I and Argus II) have had extraordinary success with implants in more than 30 patients.

Now, LLNL is getting ready to launch Argus III – the third phase that will expand the number of patients, the quality of vision provided, and ease in which the device is implanted.

Coming Soon: Flowers that can smell like anything

from Singularity Hub:

Ever wanted a rose that smelled like bananas? Maybe a petunia that reeked of root beer? Researchers at the University of Florida Gainesville have isolated 13 genes in flowers that key for the blossom’s fragrance.

According to a news release from UF and an interview in Discovery News, these scientists have already started work on tastier tomatoes, and their first crop of petunias that smell like roses are scheduled to blossom this summer.

Symposium: The future food supply – biotech, nanotech & synth-biology roles discussed

from ScienceDaily:

[...] Synthetic biology, nanotechnology, genetic engineering and other applications of biotechnology — and the public’s role in determining their acceptable uses — were all addressed by panelists during the session. [Association for the Advancement of Science]

“Unaided food production is an unattainable ideal — current society is irrevocably grounded in the technological interventions underpinning the agricultural revolution that now strives to feed the world,” Hill said.

More details on Invetech & printing 3D body parts

from Next Big Future: <- [Much more at link]

[...] The printer, developed by Invetech, fits inside a standard biosafety cabinet for sterile use. It includes two print heads, one for placing human cells, and the other for placing a hydrogel, scaffold, or support matrix.

Invetech plan to ship a number of 3D bio-printers to Organovo during 2010 and 2011 as a part of the instrument development program. Organovo will be placing the printers globally with researchers in centers of excellence for medical research.

DNA 2.0: A new operating system for life is created

from NewScientist:

A new way of using the genetic code has been created, allowing proteins to be made with properties that have never been seen in the natural world. The breakthrough could eventually lead to the creation of new or “improved” life forms incorporating these new materials into their tissue.

In the genetic code that life has used up to now, there are 64 possible triplet combinations of the four nucleotide letters; these genetic “words” are called codons. Each codon either codes for an amino acid or tells the cell to stop making a protein chain. Now Chin’s team have created 256 blank four-letter codons that can be assigned to amino acids that don’t even exist yet.