Cyborg tissue is half living cells, half electronics
2012-08-29 0:00

By Will Ferguson | NewScientist.com






They beat like real heart cells, but the rat cardiomyocytes in a dish at Harvard University are different in one crucial way. Snaking through them are wires and transistors that spy on each cellís electrical impulses. In future, the wires might control their behaviour too.

Versions of this souped-up, "cyborg" tissue have been created for neurons, muscle and blood vessels. They could be used to test drugsMovie Camera or as the basis for more biological versions of existing implants such as pacemakers. If signals can also be sent to the cells, cyborg tissue could be used in prosthetics or to create tiny robots.

"It allows one to effectively blur the boundary between electronic, inorganic systems and organic, biological ones," says Charles Lieber, who leads the team behind the cyborg tissue.

Artificial tissue can already be grown on three-dimensional scaffolds made of biological materials that are not electrically active. And electrical components have been added to cultured tissue before, but not integrated into its structure, so they were only able to glean information from the surface.


Bio-scaffolds go electric



Bioengineers at Harvard University have created the first examples of cyborg tissue: Neurons, heart cells, muscle, and blood vessels that are interwoven by nanowires and transistors. Source



Electrically inflamed

Lieberís team combined these strands of work to create electrically active scaffolds. They created 3D networks of conductive nanowires studded with silicon sensors. Crucially, the wires had to be flexible and extremely small, to avoid impeding the growth of tissue. The scaffold also contained traditional biological materials such as collagen.

The researchers were able to grow rat neurons, heart cells and muscle in these hybrid meshes. In the case of the heart cells, they started to contract just like normal cells, and the researchers used the network to read out the rate of the beats.

When they added a drug that stimulates heart cell contraction, they detected an increase in the rate, indicating the tissue was behaving like normal and that the network could sense such changes.

Lieberís team also managed to grow an entire blood vessel about 1.5 centimetres long from human cells, with wires snaking through it. By recording electrical signals from inside and outside the vesselĖ something that was never possible beforeĖ the team was able to detect electrical patterns that they say could give clues to inflammation, whether tissue has undergone changes that make it prone to tumour formation or suggest impending heart disease.

[...]


Read the full article at: newscientist.com













Tune into Red Ice Radio:

Kevin Warwick - "I, Cyborg": Implants, RFID, Microchips & Cybernetics

John Lash - Artificial Technomania of the Archons

Michael Tsarion - The Post Human World

Aaron Franz - TransAlchemy, Save the Humans!





Related Articles
Harvard creates cyborg flesh thatís half man, half machine
Artificial jellyfish created from heart cells
Electronics Made From Human Blood Cells Suggest Cyborg Interfaces, Spark Nightmares
Scientists Create Rat Cyborg With Artificial Cerebellum
Iím a Cyborg But Thatís OK
1 Cyborg cat walks on bionic feet
Cyborg Life: Kevin Warwick (Video)
Worldís first cybernetic hate crime?
You Are Cyborg


Latest News from our Front Page

"Too many white people" in Pittsburgh says government official
2015-07-31 2:14
According to Abby Wilson, the deputy director of the Department of Health’s Bureau of Public Policy and Community Relations in Allegheny County, there are too many White people in Pittsburgh. She left Pittsburgh to work in South Africa and then study in the Netherlands, but now that she’s back, she wants to change it. “My two main gripes (about Pittsburgh) are: too ...
Judge blocks group from releasing more Planned Parenthood videos
2015-07-31 2:35
The pro-life group behind a series of undercover Planned Parenthood videos accused the bioservice firm StemExpress late Wednesday of trying to ‚Äúcover up this illegal baby parts trade‚ÄĚ after the company obtained a court order blocking the release of footage. The Los Angeles Superior Court issued a temporary injunction Tuesday stopping the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any video showing ...
US Fish & Wildlife Service Investigating Killing Of Cecil The Lion
2015-07-31 2:18
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the agency is investigating the killing of Cecil the Lion, saying it will ‚Äúgo where facts lead.‚ÄĚ The agency made the announcement via Twitter Thursday. Also Thursday, the Eden Prairie Police Department said that, while they will be stepping up neighborhood monitoring, they will not be providing personal protection for the dentist who killed ...
Dispute over bounced check caused brutal Hollywood shotgun killing: Cops
2015-07-31 2:40
Carrie Melvin, an aspiring Hollywood production assistant, was strolling with her boyfriend not far from Sunset Boulevard on the evening of July 5 when someone murdered her with a shotgun. Police have now arrested a suspect, Ezeoma Obioha, 31, and say his motivation was likely a dispute over a bounced check worth just a few hundred dollars. A Los Angeles ...
California Drought Could Wipe Cities Off Map If Their Water Runs Out
2015-07-31 2:28
The epicenter of California’s drought crisis is in the Central Valley, where there are growing fears the drought could wipe entire towns off of the map. Wells are going dry, jobs are harder to come by and families are already moving, either to different states or even Mexico in search of work. Before visiting Tulare County, a place where wells have gone ...
More News »