Feeds

Pigment powered gadgets

Queensland Uni trailblazers in melanin infused electronics

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

The natural pigment, melanin, which endows humans and animals eye, skin and hair colour is set to be the driving force behind a new generation of bio-powered gadgets.

A research team from the University of Queensland led by Professor Paul Meredith and Associate Professor Ben Powell and incorporating an international team of scientists has published a study on the electrical properties of melanin and its biologically compatible “bioelectronic” features.

That biological compatibility means the first applications for melanin-based electronics would be on products for human implants.

Professor Meredith describes the pigment as like an organic semiconductor, composed of molecules containing carbon, hydrogen and other elements.

“There are very few examples of natural organic semiconductors and melanin was thought to be the very first example, demonstrated to be such in the early 70s,” said Professor Meredith.

The study, which has been evolving for ten years, reveals that in semiconductors, such as those found in computers and mobile phones, electrons carry the electrical current. However, in biological systems, such as brains and muscles, ions carry the current. While in melanin, both electrons and ions play important roles.

“Melanin is able to talk to both electronic and ionic control circuitry and hence can provide that connection role,” said Professor Meredith. The research is engaging in new ways of interfacing conventional electronics to biological systems using a combination of ion-and-electron conducting biomaterials such as melanin.

The team is currently working on creating ion-based electrical devices using melanin, with a view to ultimately connect them to actual biological systems. Applications could include stimulating or repairing signal-carrying pathways in tissues such as muscle or brain. Professor Meredith said that using the biomaterials would also solve the need for cheaper, safer electronic materials with greener credentials. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.