Feeds

Harvard boffins build cyborg skin of flesh and nanowires

Man and machine become one

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Humanity has taken another step down the path of the Borg with the invention of the first flesh containing a functional nanowire sensor network that's biocompatible with the human body.

"With this technology, for the first time, we can work at the same scale as the unit of biological system without interrupting it," team leader Charles Lieber, the Mark Hyman Jr. Professor of Chemistry at Harvard, told the Harvard Gazette. "Ultimately, this is about merging tissue with electronics in a way that it becomes difficult to determine where the tissue ends and the electronics begin."

A team from Harvard University has built the cyborg flesh by laying out a 3D grid of nanowires and small sensors and then growing tissue around them. The group has got as far as building blood vessels with the technique that can measure pH levels, as well as a chunk of rat neurons, heart cells, and muscle that can be used to test drugs.

"Previous efforts to create bioengineered sensing networks have focused on two-dimensional layouts, where culture cells grow on top of electronic components, or on conformal layouts, where probes are placed on tissue surfaces,” said team member Bozhi Tian.

"It is desirable to have an accurate picture of cellular behavior within the 3-D structure of a tissue, and it is also important to have nanoscale probes to avoid disruption of either cellular or tissue architecture."

The next step is to build these nanowire systems so that they can not only monitor, but also control the tissue they are built into. The field has possibilities for building prosthetic devices that can link up with human nerve tissue, or even organs that could be implanted and controlled by the recipient.

It might also lead to the creation of an army of cyborg warriors to destroy mankind, although the researchers left that last part out. El Reg suspects that Reading University's Captain Cyborg is already frothing at the mouth with eagerness. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.