Scientists in the US have developed a calculator from living cells, using old-fashioned analog programming. Their hope is that the technology could be used in the future to program cells to kill cancer.
Researchers have previously built electronic circuits using living cells. They achieved this by forcing living cells to behave in binary (digital) systems. But this is not energy efficient.
And many cells are required to implement simple functions that transistors, the basic units of electronic circuits which are ten times smaller than a cell and more reliable, can perform.
Instead analog technology, which uses not just two states like digital but many, could be used to make cells do more complex tasks. Rahul Sarpeshkar, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, realised that chemical reactions inside a living cell are also analog in nature.
OpenWorm, a new open-source project devoted to creating a complete virtual model of a worm, aims to bring simulation into the living world by creating a digital organism–C. elegans, a nematode commonly used as a model organism in biology research.
The goal is to make a digital worm that mimics its biological counterpart in essentially every way, from the molecular level to behavioral patterns.
Scientists at Princeton University used off-the-shelf printing tools to create a functional ear that can “hear” radio frequencies far beyond the range of normal human capability.
The researchers’ primary purpose was to explore an efficient and versatile means to merge electronics with tissue. The scientists used 3D printing of cells and nanoparticles followed by cell culture to combine a small coil antenna with cartilage, creating what they term a bionic ear.
“In general, there are mechanical and thermal challenges with interfacing electronic materials with biological materials,” said Michael McAlpine, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton and the lead researcher. “Previously, researchers have suggested some strategies to tailor the electronics so that this merger is less awkward. That typically happens between a 2D sheet of electronics and a surface of the tissue. However, our work suggests a new approach—to build and grow the biology up with the electronics synergistically and in a 3D interwoven format.”
McAlpine’s team has made several advances in recent years involving the use of small-scale medical sensors and antenna. Last year, a research effort led by McAlpine and Naveen Verma, an assistant professor of electrical engineering, and Fio Omenetto of Tufts University, resulted in the development of a “tattoo” made up of a biological sensor and antenna that can be affixed to the surface of a tooth.
This project, however, is the team’s first effort to create a fully functional organ: one that not only replicates a human ability, but extends it using embedded electronics:
“The design and implementation of bionic organs and devices that enhance human capabilities, known as cybernetics, has been an area of increasing scientific interest,” the researchers wrote in the article which appears in the scholarly journal Nano Letters. “This field has the potential to generate customized replacement parts for the human body, or even create organs containing capabilities beyond what human biology ordinarily provides.” …
He browsed the books like a giant looking for something to read. Some were small enough to fit into a fold of his hand. Many of the books were illegibly small, and he didn’t know what they were all about. But reading them was never the point.
Neale Albert, 75, is a collector of miniature books, and he may be the most serious collector living in New York. By definition, miniature books are properly printed and bound, and for the most part no larger than three inches. Mr. Albert has over 4,000 of them, some the size of matchboxes and others smaller than a tab of chewing gum. Some of the books are worth many thousands of dollars.
Aman Russom, senior lecturer at the School of Biotechnology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, says that his research team converted a commercial DVD drive into a laser scanning microscope that can analyse blood and perform cellular imaging with one-micrometre resolution. The breakthrough creates the possibility of an inexpensive and simple-to-use tool that could have far-reaching benefits in health care in the developing world. “With an ordinary DVD player, we have created a cheap analytical tool for DNA, RNA, proteins and even entire cells,” says Russom. The so-called “Lab-on-DVD” technology makes it possible to complete an HIV test in just a few minutes, he says.
Building a complex human organ in the lab is no longer a dream of science fiction. At London’s Royal Free Hospital, a team of 30 scientists is manufacturing a variety of body parts, including windpipes, noses and ears.
Check out these fascinating algae-powered public lamps, sent to us as a blogtip sent in from Tony Sherwood: a reminder that solutions to one problem often emerge from an understanding of the fuel, product, and waste from complementary processes.
Here’s a post about these lamps with some links to supplementary articles from Treehugger.com:
It seems to me that this is a pretty amazing idea that could really work and clean the air pollution from urban areas (like parking lots, tested in the video above) and at the same time look good. That said, reducing is still better than restoring, but in the meantime- let’s get this lamp working!
DNA is the building block of life, but in the future it may also be the standard repository for encyclopedias, music and other digital data. Scientists announced yesterday that they successfully converted 739 kilobytes of hard drive data in genetic code and then retrieved the content with 100 percent accuracy.
The researchers began with the computer files from some notable cultural highlights: an audio recording of MLK Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and, appropriately, a copy of Watson and Crick’s original research paper describing DNA’s double helix structure. On a hard drive, these files are stored as a series of zeros and ones. The researchers worked out a system to translate the binary code into one with four characters instead: A, C, G and T. They used this genetic code to synthesize actual strands of DNA with the content embedded in its very structure.
A story that has been racing like wildfire around the desktop 3D printing world, especially as so many people got to see the Organovo at Euromold. Via Wired Design.
Autodesk, the industry leader in CAD software, has announced it is partnering with biological printer manufacturer Organovo to create 3-D design software for designing and printing living tissue.
It’s an area of interest to Autodesk, whose software runs the industrial design and architecture worlds, allowing them to expand further into new fields by helping researchers interface with new tools.
Organovo’s bioplotter, one of the only machines that can shape living tissue, works like a standard desktop 3-D printers but uses living cells instead of ABS plastic. It creates tissue by printing a gel base material as a scaffold and then deposits cells which mature into living material that can be used in the process of developing new pharmaceuticals.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
First, an object is placed on the platform of the printer upon – a petrie dish for example. Then the printer must check the height of the object to make sure everything is calibrated correctly. Mr. Carvalho placed a paper card on the platform of the 3D-Bioplotter to demonstrate how the machine works.
Mr. Carvalho then talked us through the printing process. To begin, a liquefied material – in this case a silicone paste – is pressed through a needle-like tip by applying air pressure. The needle moves in all three dimensions which means it is able to create a three dimensional object. The printer is called ‘Bioplotter’ because the unique aspect of this machine is its use of biomaterials to make implants or other objects for biomedical application.
Some of the implants which are made using the 3D Bioplotter are intended to dissolve in the body. The materials which are used in this application include PLLA, PLGA, and silicone.
Implants made with thermoplastics – as they are mostly water and CO2 – are removed by the body naturally in around a week or two. Other materials, such as ceramic paste, may also be used to print implants. The implants printed using ceramic paste do not dissolve. Instead, the body uses this material to create new bone. This actually speeds up the process of the body’s regeneration.
The 3DBioplotter also prints hydrogels – such as collagen or alginate. These materials can have human cells actually added to them. Thus human cells may be printed directly with this machine.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has thrilled us at Adafruit with its passion and dedication to making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed that our community integrating electronics projects into 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you take considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless EL Wire and LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you have a cool project you’ve made that joins the traditions of 3D printing and electronics, be sure to send it in to be featured here!
Chances are you haven’t heard much about lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPLD), a disease that leads to pancreatitis. This rare disease, however, is at the center of world-changing medical advances.
Last week the European Union approved a gene therapy treatment for LPLD–and this marks the first time any medical treatment that rewrites a patients’ DNA has been approved for commercial use.
The treatment, called Glybera, will be released by Dutch firm uniQure in the second half of 2013. Glybera will be administered to patients by specially trained doctors at a limited number of European hospitals. Patients receiving treatment have their DNA altered by a series of injections into their leg muscles, which helps normalize the metabolism of fat particles carried in the blood. LPLD prevents sufferers from properly metabolizing these particles, leading to a host of side effects including pancreatitis.
Had a great time meeting with other presenters and guests for the Launch Party for the “Making Things” series, GE Garages‘ month at STORY in the Chelsea Arts District in NYC. It was a real treat talking to engineering and design heavyweights Nina Tandon, Catarina Mota, Corrie Van Sice, and Manca Ahlin about biohacking, open hardware, 3D designs, and lamps, while the four of them celebrated their pleasure watching product shots and videos at Adafruit that have Limor or Becky’s painted nails in the corners of them: what a great message that is to young hotshot female engineers just getting started.
I also spent some time talking with Rich and Peter of Brooklyn-based Industrial City Distillery, hardcore makers themselves. Rich, who designs the custom-built distillery’s automation, was thrilled to see someone from Adafruit at the party. He shared about his use of Arduinos and other Adafruit supplies to reinvent how they are distilling high-grade vodka from sugar beets, going from setup to on-shelves in less than a year. (Check out this awesome video!)
I have posted my Skillshare signup for my workshop on October 21st, and already the 30 slots are starting to fill up. I shared with a few other presenters tonight what I have in mind for the activity, but I’m going to keep quiet about this secret 3D printing + electronics project here on the blog until I offer a sneak preview during the Adafruit “Show and Tell” episode on October 20th.
Austin Chapman was born profoundly deaf. Hearing aids helped some, but music — its full range of pitches and tones — remained indecipherable. As Chapman explains, “I’ve never understood it. My whole life I’ve seen hearing people make a fool of themselves singing their favorite song or gyrating on the dance floor. I’ve also seen hearing people moved to tears by a single song. That was the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around.”
..When Mozart’s Lacrimosa came on, I was blown away by the beauty of it. At one point of the song, it sounded like angels singing and I suddenly realized that this was the first time I was able to appreciate music. Tears rolled down my face and I tried to hide it. But when I looked over I saw that there wasn’t a dry eye in the car.
…”Silence is still my favorite sound,” he writes. “When I turn my aids off my thoughts become more clear and it’s absolutely peaceful.”