New Transistor Interfaces Directly With Biological Functions
This transistor based on biocompatible maleic-chitosan nanofibers could be used to connect a device directly with biological processes that involve protons. Unlike typical transistor, this device uses protons instead of electrons.
(Biocompatible maleic-chitosan nanofibers)
In the body, protons activate “on” and “off” switches and are key players in biological energy transfer. They open and close channels in the cell membrane to pump things in and out of the cell (proton pumps in the stomach lining that turn on acid for example). The body also uses these protons to flex muscles and transmit brain signals. If a machine could sense proton currents, it could sense biological signals directly, and if it could generate proton currents, it could even control certain functions directly.
“We found a biomaterial, chitosan, that is very good at conducting protons, and allows the potential to interface with living systems,” said Marco Rolandi, a UW assistant professor of materials science and engineering. The UW scientists incorporated chitosan in a prototype field-effect transistor (includes a gate, drain, and source terminal for the current). This is the first such device to use protons, they say. It measures about 5 microns wide, roughly a twentieth the width of a human hair, small enough to be implanted.
The UW device uses a modified form of chitosan (maleic-chitosan), which is created from chitin, the structural element in the exoskeleton of crustaceans (such as crabs and shrimp). The material is compatible with living things, is easily manufactured, and can be recycled from crab shells and squid pen discarded by the food industry. The researchers discovered that this form of chitosan works remarkably well at moving protons.
If this research proceeds and is successful, the implants that will enhance your health and well-being will communicate directly with your body, and not simply be devices that mechanically aid body processes.
From Kurzweil AI.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/19/2011)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Amazing 'Hybrid' Solar-Powered Sea Slug Does Photosynthesis
Thank goodness for Star Trek.
Should You Submit Your DNA To A Database?
Consumer DNA services are often inaccurate.
Humans Evolve Deep Diving Abilities
Sounds like '60s sci-fi to me.
Researchers Create Bowls, Coils, Ripples Of Living Tissue
'... biological robots were not living creatures.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'
You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'
Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'
Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.
Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.
Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'
First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.
VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'
Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.
Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...
Galini 3D Printed Sleeping Pod Tiny Houses
'The houses are prefabricated units...'
MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
There's a lesson in this for neural net AI engineers everywhere.
Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...'
Artificial Sensory Neurons For Prosthetics, Robots
Great for humans and robots!
China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Looks like the City Fathers are starting to take over China's education system.
Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories