menu

Conductive Bacteria Could Pave The Way For Self-Repairing Devices

Conductive Bacteria Could Pave The Way For Self-Repairing Devices
Innovation

MIT researchers engineer E. Coli bacteria to perform different functions.

Ross Brooks
  • 25 march 2014

MIT researchers recently discovered a way to manipulate E. coli bacteria that could lead to the creation of self-healing solar cells and batteries. The team combined organic, and non-organic materials, to create various forms of bacteria, each with their own defining characteristics.

The biological and electrical engineers involved chose E. coli because it produces a thin layer of cells known as a biofilm. This film is able to capture inorganic molecules, depending on how it’s engineered, and incorporate them into its own structure.

Gold nanoparticles were one of the inorganic materials used, which turned the bacteria conducive to electricity. Researchers discovered it was also possible to combine different materials in one biofilm, one example being gold nanoparticles and semiconductor crystals know as quantum dots.

ecoli-biofilm-research-MIT-2.jpg


One of the most impressive discoveries was that cells could be engineered to communicate with one another. A particular strain of
E. coli that bonds with gold nanoparticles, for example, could also signal to surrounding bacteria, which would cause them to start producing a biofilm that also accepts the same material.

“It shows that you can make cells that talk to each other and they can change the composition of the material over time,” said Timothy Lu, lead author on the paper describing the technique in Nature Materials. “Ultimately, we hope to emulate how natural systems, like bone, form. No one tells bone what to do, but it generates a material in response to environmental signals.”

MIT

Source: Gigaom, Wired.co.uk
Images: Allen Bellew, Wellcome Images via Flickr

Trending

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

Health
Travel Today

United Airlines Launches An Updated Business Class Program

The new Polaris product prioritizes customer service and updated modern amenities

Design & Architecture Today

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: Innovation Debrief: Boston

See All
Sustainability Today

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 Today

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

Steve Cheney

Retail, Internet of Things, Connectivity

Syndicated Today

What PSX 2016 Tells Us About The Modern Games Industry

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

Technology Today

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

Food Today

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

PSFK LABS REPORT

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

PSFK Op-Ed Today

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

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

Entertainment Today

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 Today

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

Mobile Today

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 Today

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

Retail Today

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

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Cities Today

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 Today

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

Technology Today

Tiny Home Robot Turns Switches On And Off

The miniature device attaches to the side of an appliance or switch to enable remote control through a person's phone

No search results found.