7th Jul 2012

Closing the gap between man and machine

Biological systems depend on membrane receptors to communicate, while technology relies on electric fields and currents to transmit data—but scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have created a transistor modelled on living cells that it might allow electronic devices to be hooked directly to the nervous system. The transistor consists of two metal electrodes connected by a carbon nanotube, which acts as a semiconductor. The nanotube is layered with both an insulating polymer and a lipid bi-layer that mimics the structure around cell membranes, and the transistor is then powered by adenosine triphosphate (ATP)—the energy currency of living cells. When exposed to ATP, a protein in the lipid bi-layer acts as an ion pump, shuttling sodium and potassium ions across the membrane—so when both a voltage and an ATP solution (including the ions) are applied to the device, a current flows through the electrodes. The transistor is the first example of an integrated bioelectric system; a hybrid, half-man half-machine. The technology could be used to construct seamless bioelectronic interfaces, and even help human consciousness merge with technology—imagine being mentally linked to your laptop!

Read the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory press release

This post has 289 notes
  1. nmz12 reblogged this from sciencesoup
  2. morethanweknow reblogged this from sciencesoup
  3. damnitprocrastination reblogged this from trueamericanenglish
  4. khuenaten reblogged this from trueamericanenglish
  5. trueamericanenglish reblogged this from alec-scudder
  6. derelictjet reblogged this from alec-scudder and added:
  7. alec-scudder reblogged this from sciencesoup
  8. existence-is-consciousness reblogged this from cyborgorgy
  9. grimvampire reblogged this from lupta
  10. lupta reblogged this from thecraftychemist
  11. uwotm8y8 reblogged this from sciencesoup
  12. atastelessromance reblogged this from faomosgirl and added:
    The cyborg era has begun. All the terminator movies predicted this!!!
  13. faomosgirl reblogged this from discoveriesofacuriousmind
  14. discoveriesofacuriousmind reblogged this from sciencesoup
  15. cheezyjee reblogged this from sciencesoup
  16. thekowaiiwolf reblogged this from everybodycrieslove and added:
    Singularity here we come!
  17. itstearsinrain reblogged this from whiteflagwindow
  18. whiteflagwindow reblogged this from sciencesoup
  19. simplyahuman reblogged this from sciencesoup
  20. skuleton-official reblogged this from sciencesoup