menu

Researchers Merge Living Cells With Nanowires To Create Functional ‘Cyborg’ Tissue

Researchers Merge Living Cells With Nanowires To Create Functional ‘Cyborg’ Tissue
technology

A Harvard research team has created a method which successfully combines functional electronics and living biological structures.

John Pugh, BI
  • 15 september 2012

A team of researchers at Harvard University have developed a breakthrough process of  engineering ‘cyborg’ tissue by building ‘scaffolds’ of nanoscale wires which were then seeded with heart and nerve cells.

A longstanding problem in the field of bioengineering has been that available methods for measuring chemical and electrical changes in lab-grown tissues also tend to fatally damage the cells. Charles M. Lieber, the Mark Hyman, Jr. Professor of Chemistry at Harvard, explained these concerns in a recent interview:

The current methods we have for monitoring or interacting with living systems are limited. We can use electrodes to measure activity in cells or tissue, but that damages them. With this technology, for the first time, we can work at the same scale as the unit of biological system without interrupting it. 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.

The immediate benefit to arise from this discovery will be that scientists and pharmaceutical companies will now have a method of testing drug responses within a three-dimensional formation of tissues. Hopefully this will one day translate into medicines and procedures that are more effective within a real human body.

What is truly amazing of a technology in which a flexible and porous system of electronics is able to function within living tissue is the simple fact that it is possible at all. This means that synthetic and biological networks can coexist, can interact, and can effectively merge into a single interconnected system of electrical pathways.

For now the focus will be on drug testing, but the future might bring advanced prosthetics, self-monitoring skin-grafts, and, of course, a mind-twisting number of Science Fiction inspired oddities.

 

Harvard’s Lieber Research Group

PSFK has partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim to bring you a steady stream of inspiring news and ideas in the health and wellness space. Once each week, we will be posting an article on PSFK.com. If you would like to gain access to the full stream of content, please check out Boehringer Ingelheim’s Facebook page, where they are publishing a regular stream of inspiring and informative content.

Trending

Genetics Startup Is Working To Create A Completely Personalized, DNA-Based Range Of Products

Health
Travel Yesterday

United Airlines Launches An Updated Business Class Program

The new Polaris product prioritizes customer service and updated modern amenities

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Video Explores Complex Museum Architecture

A mini video gives a quick overview of the most beautiful cultural buildings built

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Sports Debrief

See All
Sustainability Yesterday

Smog Vacuum Turns Pollution Particulates Into Unique Jewelry

A large device was installed in Beijing that sucks up smog and compresses it into small centerpieces atop jewelry

Experiential Marketing Yesterday

PSA Fashion Line Shines A Light On Victim Blaming

YWCA Canada is using fashion and sexist tweets to highlight how often we as a society blame the victim in cases of abuse

Related Expert

Chris Riley

Turning information into insight

Syndicated Yesterday

What PSX 2016 Tells Us About The Modern Games Industry

Nostalgia and big brands are defining how the console market is being shaped

Op-Ed Yesterday

VP: Why Messaging Apps Are Issuing In A New Era Of Commerce

Matt Johnson discusses how mobile messaging commerce is creating a different modality for interaction between retailers and consumers

Technology Yesterday

The PSFK Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Based on a year of research by PSFK Labs, we curated a list of innovative and unique holiday gifts

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Store Technology Expert: Why Retailers Must Invest In Store Associates

Jan Kotowski, Head of Product at Tulip Retail, shares his thoughts on how retailers should be preparing for the future

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Food Yesterday

Minute Maid Opens A Store That Sells Nothing

The beverage company opened a pop-up shop that encourages customers to write letters to their parents instead of buying a gift

Entertainment Yesterday

Samsung And Viceland Partner For A Virtual Reality Documentary On The Syrian War

The White Helmets film uses VR to immerse viewers in the everyday conditions of the war-torn country

Design & Architecture Yesterday

These Designs Bring Modern Architecture To The Humble Birdhouse

Artist Douglas Barnhard has imagined a series of designs emulating the work of architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Joseph Eichler

AI Yesterday

Nine Technologies To Invest In When It Comes To Retail [Future Of Retail]

Retailers are leveraging assistive technology to help employees in their daily tasks and customers on the sales floor

Travel Yesterday

Acura Cockpit Envisions The Future Of Autonomous Travel

The car brand has built a proof that offers a sneak peek of the self-driving vehicle experience

PSFK EVENT

FUTURE OF RETAIL 2017
Conference Built Around Our Report Launch
BUY TICKETS

Retail Yesterday

How Artificial Intelligence Is Enabling Anytime Shopping & On-Demand Support

Retailers are leveraging advanced technology to relieve associates from mundane tasks, while better assisting customers

Cities Yesterday

NYC Map Calculates Economic Benefits Of Every Tree

TreesCount! maps all the greenery in the five boroughs and even figures out how much money it saves the city

Design Yesterday

Create A Perfectly Tailored Shirt Using Just Your Phone

UKYS has created an application to get accurate measurements of buyers through a few simple pictures for custom shirts

No search results found.