Bored with your iPhone? Try turning it into a low-cost spectrophotometer. Some researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have come up with a an iPhone app and a cradle packed with biosensor technology that will let users detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other biological material.
The sensors could allow people to run field tests to spot poisons, measure food safety, and even make medical diagnoses using an iPhone.
When you see the words “biological computer,” it’s easy to get carried away and assume we’ll be replacing silicon with living matter. That might eventually happen, but for today, the biological computer in question is much simpler and is placed inside a living cell.
Researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine have invented genetic transistors. Along with earlier work that produced data storage in DNA and a sort of biological Internet that allows for data to be transferred from cell to cell, the new transistors make biological computers possible. Continue reading
The science fiction of yesterday is quickly becoming the reality of today. Medical implants, prosthetics of all kinds, and even replacement organs are just on the fringe of becoming widely available. It may be recorded in the annals of history that Feb. 13, 2013 marked the day that a retinal prosthesis was approved by the FDA.
Second Sight is now able to offer its Argus II system to customers. The word system there is key. This isn’t a bionic eye that is capable of assisting with vision all on its own, instead it is a combination of retinal prosthesis, video recorder and mini computer. The system has been designed for individuals who suffer from late stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Continue reading
I always smile when I see a bumper sticker or T-shirt that proclaims, “Science! It works!” or something similar. It can be easy to lose sight of the idea that science is something that is meant to improve life. Not only are those T-shirts celebrating science, they are celebrating its ability to improve the world around us.
One example of how science is improving people’s lives can be found in the various exoskeleton designs that are moving toward common availability. I can’t think of any better motivator to show up for work every day than knowing you are designing something that will improve the quality of life for thousands of people. Continue reading