Locatie: Netherlands

When I was young, I delayed prosperity for my country.

zondag, april 08, 2012

Cyberplasm, the synthetic-biology microscale biohybrid robot.

*Given the principles of ?synthetic biology,? I can see why an attempt to develop this bizarre nano-gizmo makes good solid research sense. A great deal could be learned from this effort. ?Synthetic actuators,? ?optoelectronic interfaces??

*This effort is sure a new on on me, though. Little teensy robots in the human bloodstream are something of a science-fiction staple, but this ?biohybrid? thing is the robotic equivalent of a white blood cell. A thing the size of a cell, as gooey as a cell, that?s a little computer-guided machine made mostly of repurposed cell structures. It has a very Rachel Armstrong feeling about it, somehow.

*At least they don?t replicate. By themselves, that is.


?Cyberplasm integration will be accomplished via a combination of nano/microscale fabrication and matching the synthetic biology with materials development (an iterative process). The body of Cyberplasm will have several functions. Its core will consist of a hydrogel with tunable mechanical properties and a microbial fuel cell. The hydrogel will be modified using microscale patterning of PEI to allow for adhesion of myotubes.

?Additionally, mechanical properties of the hydrogel will be tuned via cross-linking to allow maximum motile propulsion of myotubes. The force that myotubes exert on the hydrogel will be assessed by the displacement of embedded fluorescent beads followed by subsequent finite element analysis. We plan to develop a new microbial fuel cell technology to power Cyberplasm electronics. (((I rather imagine that a microbial electronic fuel cell could have some interestingly broad applications. Like, for instance, tying off your arm and shooting up voltage.)))

?Unlike conventional microbial fuel cells we will genetically engineer the bacteria to improve electron permeability and specific adhesion to the electrodes. This way we can do away with proton exchange membranes allowing for a more efficient and smaller cell.

?Moreover we will be able to remove the need for electron transfer agents allowing a more efficient cell to be produced. In effect we will produce a bacterial battery with single films of bacteria sandwiched between electrodes.

?What we are proposing is so novel (((well, yeah))) in term of the progress that can be made in improving performance that this use of synthetic biology will revolutionize the field of microbial fuel cells. Microfluidic channels will supply the fuel cell with reactant and medium to sustain the bacteria. In addition hydrogel valves will control the supply of fuel to the myotubes allowing Cyberplasm to be sustained from an internal supply of necessary resources.?


interesting photography wired bbc