Printing a human ear sounds like a far away application of modern biology, however it is here a lot sooner than we might have thought! Thanks to researchers in the Bonassar lab at Cornell University and utilising 3D printing technology this technology is now a reality. The printers work by layering cells into a complex 3D lattice, where they can grow into a living ear. It can only be a short time before we see other body parts also being created in a similar fashion to this! Check out a video about this work after the break or read more here.
A loggerhead sea turtle found itself in a pretty bad spot when it lost its front legs to a shark. Luckily for it Japanese rescuers have fitted it with two new artificial front legs, allowing it to swim once again! Prosthetics aren’t just for humans anymore. But this lucky turtle isn’t the first prosthetic wielding aquatic animal, Fuji is a dolphin who has been successfully using her $83,000 aritificial tail for years now!
Watch videos of both after the break!
Scientists from MIT have engineered a set of logic gates using DNA and cellular machinery. In short, they have turned living cells into working computers! Core logical functions are the basis of all modern computation, and developing this system is a huge step towards larger scale “biocomputers”. The applications are many and varied, the ability to having living organisms respond to programming has seemingly limitless potential. One example could be a medical colony of healthy bacteria programmed to produce and excrete medicine inside you at regular intervals before killing themselves at the end of your treatment. But thats just one basic idea.
The logic gates within the cell store their results in DNA itself, giving each logic gate its own personal “memory”, something electrical logic gates don’t currently have. This result history can remain for up to 90 generations and can be retrieved even after the cells carrying the switches are dead! Find out more about the exciting work in this Nature News piece, or in the original paper.
Dr. Rachel Armstrong was recently interviewed on London Real about her visions of the future – you can find the video after the break! Dr. Armstrong is the co-director of AVATAR (Advanced Virtual and Technological Architectural Research) – and has a strong focus on the concept of “living architecture”. She is also a TED fellow, and as an added bonus we’ve embedded her TED talk: “Architecture that repairs itself?” below as well.
After the break you will find two videos about the amazing, and strikingly alien life which is all around us. From the protists and microscopic life of Clemens Wirth’s ‘Micro Empire’ – to the strange world of praying mantises shown in Cokau’s ‘Prie Dieu’. These are just some of the alien worlds all around us.