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Part-Human, Part-Machine Transistor Devised

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the mitochondria-look-up dept.

Biotech 77

asukasoryu writes "Man and machine can now be linked more intimately than ever, according to a new article in the journal ACS Nano Letters. Scientists have embedded a nano-sized transistor inside a cell-like membrane and powered it using the cell's own fuel. To create the implanted circuit, the UC scientists combined a carbon nanotube transistor, lipid bilayer coating, ion pump, and ATP. The ion pump changes the electrical charge inside the cell, which then changes the electrical charge going through the transistor, which the scientists could measure and monitor."

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Tag to add (2, Funny)

Scott Lockwood (218839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445414)

Everyone add the tag, Cylons to this one. :-D

Re:Tag to add (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445440)

Everyone add the tag, Cylons to this one. :-D

They said nothing about sexually-triggered bioluminescence.

Re:Tag to add (2, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32446716)

They said nothing about sexually-triggered bioluminescence.

Well, if that came about the modern day Luddites will have a new war cry:

Hell No, We Don't Glow!

Re:Tag to add (1)

beav007 (746004) | more than 4 years ago | (#32453616)

Hell No, We Don't Glow!

Hell yes, your hair's a mess.

If you don't read Bloom County, then you probably won't get it. That doesn't make it offtopic.

Re:Tag to add (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32447148)

Body Thetans?

Re:Tag to add (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451058)

Everyone add the tag, Cylons to this one. :-D
--
But this is slashdot. A slashdoter who didn't build his own computer is like a Jedi who didn't build his own lightsaber!

Luke Skywalker inherited his.

Re:Tag to add (1)

Scott Lockwood (218839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451164)

His first one - the second one, he built, after he lost his hand. The one in the third movie is the one he built.

Re:Tag to add (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451666)

The Cylons were just robots that inherited the name from their extinct alien creators.

Oh, I see. You were referring to the FAKE Battlestar Galactica starring that Mexican dude. My bad.

Ok, I'll bite, troll (1)

Scott Lockwood (218839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32452872)

Yes, the one that didn't FUCKING SUCK BALLS like you do.

GO TEAM EDWARD (JAMES OLMOS).

Re:Ok, I'll bite, troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32453680)

True. They really nailed the schoolgirl demographic that the original failed to capture.

With a filthy ass pock marked meth skinned Mexican no less!

Why I Left OpenBSD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32445456)

I was a long-time OpenBSD user since the 3.1 days, and cut my teeth on Unix development there. I was attracted by its focus on security and conscientious coding practices. I was happy through the early 4.x days, but the more I got involved in developing for OpenBSD the more I was dissuaded from doing so.

Part of the issue was this focus on security. After I began to use OpenBSD at home and at work in earnest, I realized that it was limited in hardware support compared to other operating systems. I purchased a new workstation and portable within a year of each other, and both times came to some unhappy realizations about OpenBSD support.

I began to seriously look at Linux and FreeBSD at this point, knowing hardware support was much more robust. (I had also looked at NetBSD, but even though it booted on nearly everything, driver support was anemic.) I started to dual-boot FreeBSD on my workstation, and spent more and more time there. But it wasn't only hardware support that pushed me away from OpenBSD.

The FreeBSD development model is, to say the least, more sensible. Like I said, the more I got involved with OpenBSD development the more I was turned away, and that was mostly due to the project leader's attitude. During the run-up to OpenBSD 4.2, Theo de Raadt had been in a couple highly-publicized arguments with Linux developers, rubbing a ton of people the wrong way.

What many don't understand is that this was not an isolated incident. Try being an OpenBSD developer! These kind of scathing verbal assaults happened all of the time on the mailing lists. I wasand still am, actuallyunsure whether Theo doesn't give a shit due to some philosophical stance, or can't help it due to something like Asperger syndrome. In either case, he typically drags anyone he disagrees with over the coals, all while telling them to stop taking it personally.

I wish Theo had taken some of his own advice. I believe he has hurt the OpenBSD platform more than he has helped it, and I also firmly believe that hardware support in OpenBSD sucks not because of code auditing practices or security focus, but because Theo has either scared or purposefully chased away developers.

Long-time OpenBSD developers might migrate to FreeBSD or Darwin; newbies might try for Linux instead. Those who taste the de Raadt wrath, however, always run in the end. One time, a friend of mine incurred his ire by asking the wrong question at the wrong time, and Theo de Raadt hacked his router and remotely remapped his keyboard!

This is abuse, plain and simple, and Theo's relationship with his developers is abusive. I feel bad for anyone who has to engage him in real life, and fear something Reiser-like happening in the future. This controlling, manipulative attitude coupled with periodic violent outbursts indicates a deep-seated mental health issue that has gone unchecked for far too long. If you are an OpenBSD developer, watch your back!

After all this mess, I switched to FreeBSD 7.2 and never looked back. I upgraded to FreeBSD 7.3 and started using FreeBSD 8 as soon as it was in pre-release, and I am eagerly working on FreeBSD 8.1. I feel spoiled now, too, because of the throng of developers devoted to professionally working the FreeBSD platform into something spectacular instead of naggling over trivial matters or admonishing one another.

The thriving FreeBSD ecosystem contrasts sharply with the Jonestown-like atmosphere of OpenBSD. There is also the fact that no one person looms so largely over any other; ego is checked at the door in FreeBSD since the goal is to make a great operating system, not lord over others like David Karesh and a harem of 14-year-old girls.

Feel free to disagree with me or point out counter-examples; I would love to read them now that I have left OpenBSD. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the little secure operating system even though it leaves me with chills. I sometimes fondly load www.openbsd.org [openbsd.org] and read the latest release notes and smile wistfully.

It's okay to smile, now that I'm free from OpenBSD.

why did you post this? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32445594)

It's not funny, trolly or interesting. What possible motivate did you have for posting it here? Is it an attempt at irony, given that you accuse Theo of being an aspie but then go off on some unprompted and off topic rant as if you are unable to comprehend basic social conventions?

Re:why did you post this? (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 4 years ago | (#32447110)

Well, certainly looks like the UC scientists aren't the only ones unable to comprehend basic social conventions.

You will be assimilated. (0, Offtopic)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445466)

Resistance is futile. [slashdot.org]

Re:You will be assimilated. (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445526)

I love the double meaning of resistance in this case.

Re:You will be assimilated. (3, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445696)

Resistance is voltage over current.

Re:You will be assimilated. (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32446680)

Therefore futile = voltage / current

Re:You will be assimilated. (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32447248)

voltage = futile current

Re:You will be assimilated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458374)

futile*current^2= power

I for one (1)

kumma (1077987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455254)

I for one, welcome our new human based overlords.

Re:You will be assimilated. (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445862)

Ah, so it's super-conducting as well? Neat.

Re:You will be assimilated. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457418)

It is when you get close to zero kelvin.

Whoever modded my original comment "offtopic" was NOT a nerd. Gees, never watched Star Trek or knows what a cyborg is? It's sad.

resitance is futile (1)

Midnight's Shadow (1517137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445476)

I can't help but think of the borg here but I will give them the fact that it is rather ingenues. Hopefully they can generate enough power to do something useful without starving the cell in the future.

Re:resitance is futile (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32446044)

I'm sure the people actually doing this are fully aware of any issues that could possibly be thought of by a random internet user reading a short overview of the project.

Re:resitance is futile (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 4 years ago | (#32454430)

No, the average /. reader can pick up in 5 minutes problems in projects that are researched for years. Why else do we read the summeries? Wait till people around here will start to RTFA, then you will really see issues popping up!

Re:resitance is futile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32456446)

...we read the summeries?

You read the summary?

You must be new around here.

How is this human? (2, Insightful)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445478)

So they put a transister inside a cell membrane. How exactly does that make it part human? Every living creature has cells that have phospholipid bilayers.

next up the iBRAIN (3, Funny)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445538)

completely useless device that makes the user buy other useless devices starting with the letter "i"

Re:How is this human? (4, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445552)

So they put a transister inside a cell membrane. How exactly does that make it part human?

It's powered by the cell, and not its own battery?

Imagine having a wrist calculator that was more reliable than a solar calculator, but you have to eat a bit more.

Re:How is this human? (3, Funny)

guppysap13 (1225926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445612)

Or eat the same and let it burn excess energy...

Re:How is this human? (4, Funny)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32449042)

Fuck low power CPU's. I want to lose weight!

Re:How is this human? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32469406)

Then good luck with the fever denaturing your proteins at > 42C.
I would like to have some cooling fins with that!
.
.
.
AQUAMAAAAN! He can speak with the fish, and compute 20 trillion operations per second!

Re:How is this human? (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445648)

I'd rather have one that just drew power from my vast stores of... well, let's just say I shouldn't eat more.

Re:How is this human? (1)

schn (1795404) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445708)

Imagine how much you could eat with ten calculators!

Re:How is this human? (4, Funny)

ajrs (186276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445882)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster powered by slashdot users!

Re:How is this human? (0)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32446084)

In soviet russia, hot grits and Natalie Portman power naked and petrified slashdot user's controlling shark's with laserbeams (running linux) during their blackjack and hookers break hour. Robotic overlords manage the operation, placing CowboyNeal in charge of Ogging the Frosty Pissers into Goatse oblivion.

Re:How is this human? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32446132)

WHOOSH

Cross the streams (1)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 4 years ago | (#32446258)

Imagine having a wrist calculator that was more reliable than a solar calculator, but you have to eat a bit more.

Let's reverse the flow. Imagine going outside into the sun, and not needing to eat for a day.

Of course, this turns the the whole weight-loss idea on its head. Sunbathing is the new binging: go to the beach paper-thin in your new bikini, and never leave because you've become too morbidly obese to move. Oops.

On the plus side, it could be sold as a cure for world hunger. Bonus points for being green if it makes people sterile in the process (your kids are your biggest carbon footprint, so just say yes to contraception).

Re:Cross the streams (1)

DarkIye (875062) | more than 4 years ago | (#32447550)

Fucking fat-ass plants.

Re:How is this human? (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32447514)

The new diet craze. Nano computers running vista, just copy a file and watch those pounds melt away.

Re:How is this human? (4, Insightful)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445610)

So they put a transister inside a cell membrane. How exactly does that make it part human? Every living creature has cells that have phospholipid bilayers.

More generally, it is not true to say that a lipid bilayer is even 'biological' in any meaningful sense. Ok, so the ion pump that they used is biological, since it was probably extracted from a cell. There have been designed (artificial) ion pumps, however, which could be used instead.

Perhaps this is too pedantic, but this is really bio-mimetics rather than bio-chemistry... Anyway, where is Dr Baltar and his detector when we need him? Fracking toasters everywhere!

Re:How is this human? (4, Insightful)

AustinSlacker (728596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445644)

Obviously to sensationalize the article. How else to get people to read it? If they just said, “Biologically Powered Transistor Devised”, then people would be all ho hum about it. But if you invoke images of Terminator or Cylons, then people notice. As a matter of fact, nowhere in the article do any of the researchers say anything about this being human. They all refer to the cells in very generic terms. It could be any cells.

Re:How is this human? (1)

ewenix (702589) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445884)

You mean like sharks with frickin' lasers?!?!

Re:How is this human? (1)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32446152)

Would you have been as quick to click if the headline had read "phospholipid wrapped transistor powered by ATP"? Would scattering "nano" have helped?

Re:How is this human? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472896)

Because we're not all that interested in giving frogs a built in AM/FM radio?

DEVISED? I can devise. You can devise. We can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32445500)

We can all devise. But only she can bop!

New weight loss (5, Interesting)

DiademBedfordshire (1662223) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445626)

So will this be the next weight loss method? If I am powering electronics it must come from burning calories correct?

Re:New weight loss (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445694)

So will this be the next weight loss method? If I am powering electronics it must come from burning calories correct?

This is the anti-social transistor. It's powered by burning bridges.

Re:New weight loss (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32445964)

Hell yes, next we need to mount an interface on my ass. I can plug this into the grid and sell power back to the electric company.

No more watching what I eat. Instead I can eat what I want, as much as I want and enjoy every bite. Sports and other activities stop being a way to stay slim and become OPTIONAL.

Re:New weight loss (4, Funny)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 4 years ago | (#32446058)

> mount an interface on my ass.

Wide bus, I guess.

Re:New weight loss (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32447976)

And apart from a thermal probe, it's an output bus only.

Re:New weight loss (1)

Dogbertius (1333565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32448900)

Fat conversion to ATP through aerobic metabolism is generally slower than other forms of metabolism. It requires a steady supply of oxygen too, so your circulatory system will likely be overworked. Also, rapid breakdown of lipids in the body could lead to metabolic acidosis, decreasing the pH in your blood, and possibly leading to renal/kidney failure.

So, I doubt fat loss via such a method would be very helpful, or safe.

Re:New weight loss (1)

renoX (11677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32455838)

>So will this be the next weight loss method? If I am powering electronics it must come from burning calories correct?

Uh? What a stupid statement!
They connected a transistor to *one* cell: you'd need to connect something to *many* cells before there would be any significant weightloss..

hom)o (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32445628)

Reverse Works Too (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445692)

Future devices could work just the opposite, where an outside electrical current could power the pump and alter how quickly ions are pumped into or out of a cell.

That has potentially far reaching effects assuming they can eventually find a way to install these things throughout the body (or even better just on targeted cells). You could install one of these devices on each cancer cell, for example, and power a pump that forced chemo drugs into the cells. That means that cancer cells would receive a much higher dose than non-cancer cells meaning less side effects and/or more effective treatments. Of course, there's a million problems to be solved before such a treatment could become reality, but the possibilities are endless.

Re:Reverse Works Too (2, Insightful)

ajrs (186276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445946)

Future devices could work just the opposite, where an outside electrical current could power the pump and alter how quickly ions are pumped into or out of a cell.

That has potentially far reaching effects assuming they can eventually find a way to install these things throughout the body (or even better just on targeted cells). You could install one of these devices on each cancer cell, for example, and power a pump that forced chemo drugs into the cells. That means that cancer cells would receive a much higher dose than non-cancer cells meaning less side effects and/or more effective treatments. Of course, there's a million problems to be solved before such a treatment could become reality, but the possibilities are endless.

If you could install one of these devices in a cancer cell, it wouldn't need to pump it full of medicine. Water or would work just fine. Pop!

Re:Reverse Works Too (2, Informative)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 4 years ago | (#32446104)

If you can find a way to install things on targeted cells, you can just deliver the actual chemo to the cells without this as intermediary.

"More intimately than ever"? (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445804)

Man and machine can now be linked more intimately than ever

Er, well this is Slashdot... but still: I'd rather not, thank-you very much.

Really no? (1)

AffidavitDonda (1736752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445966)

And give up the one chance in you live to become a robotic overlord? WIRE ME! WIRE ME!

Re:Really no? (0)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450502)

Woosh.

Intimately? (1)

adeft (1805910) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445840)

"Man and machine can now be linked more intimately than ever" Interesting choice of words, have they never seen the picture that floated around the internet of the man in lingerie, um, "loving" his car's exhaust pipe?

Stats and Tolerances (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32445974)

I wonder what kinds of numbers something like this could push. Tolerances? Forward / Reverse Bias, Beta values, Depletion region sizes, Breakdown voltages etc...Does anybody have a white-paper link or know if the data is published anywhere public? I am just curious as to how they go about verifying this constructs functionality as a transistor, be it giant simulators, or actual experimental observations.

In the future we will have multimeters / scopes that probe the body's..erm..wait...nvm.

Yay! One step closer to Overmind! (4, Funny)

abbynormal brain (1637419) | more than 4 years ago | (#32446004)

Overlord1: These brutish simple beings have finally yielded some light at the end of the tunnel.
Overlord2: Yes, but it will still be a few centuries to perfect, sell, and drive adoption before we can flip the switch and merge them into Overmind.
Overlord1: Ok - when can I see the Microsoft Project Plan?

Not in Ohio you don't! (2, Interesting)

seyyah (986027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32446326)

OH Senate Passes Bill Banning Human-Anima... [slashdot.org] ah wait, this one's still legal in Ohio. Never mind.

Re:Not in Ohio you don't! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32448642)

Who knows, maybe they will pass something that defines Cylons as a real race.

I'm calling... (1)

RenoGeek (1247478) | more than 4 years ago | (#32446490)

...DIBS!!!

Get the facts straight, please! (4, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32446866)

According to the actual article, there was no cell involved, only proteins resembling a cell wall. Nor was anything human mentioned.

In short, the article describes how they rapped a protein layer around the nano-transistor and it worked. Then it speculated on what it might be able to do in the future.

While powering a single transistor from the cell is interesting, a single transistor can only be on or off. Since, based on the data supplied in the article, there isn't a mechanism to trigger the on/off state, then it seems to be limited use.

Of more interest is the mention of the research done at the Hebrew University where they accomplished the same thing but by using enzymes that the cell ignored. The reason this is more interesting is that enzymes may be able to be tailored to work with specific cell functions, versus just being powered by the the cell.

Re:Get the facts straight, please! (1)

Megahard (1053072) | more than 4 years ago | (#32449284)

they rapped a protein layer

I'm power'n' my ho
With a transisto'
It's in her ass
She move it so fas'

Re:Get the facts straight, please! (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32449466)

Touché

Re:Get the facts straight, please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32457398)

rofl

YOU FAIL 8IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32448286)

BSD style.' In the Which allows series of debates To use the GNNA supplies to private distended. All I

only a matter of time (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450648)

Only a matter of time before we all have our own pc cpu installed inside ourselves and can interface and do a lot of work with our computers and the internet....need to check something up on google, use you interfaced keyboard that sends signals to your cpu, that is powered by your own thermal energy, then use your pc to hook up with the internet using a 3g chip implanted at the base of your neck, this will allow you to look up on google for all the p0rn you might need, and then send the signal back to your optical implant that allows you to visually see your pc screen inside your eyeball.....god i can't wait to see what p0rn will look like when that happens...will they still wear garder belts? what about stilletos?

Re:only a matter of time (1)

Muse011 (1826134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457686)

What should be more concerning is when Korea gets their hands on this kind of technology enabling them to control their military like Starcraft units.

The REAL test is (1)

dogzdik (1700552) | more than 4 years ago | (#32454844)

When the cell replicates, it's making the transistor replicate with the division. This is the REAL achievement. Everything else is just steps.

.

Beyond this - is artificial life - or the transference of consciousness within machines and processors.

The original paper (1)

doru (541245) | more than 4 years ago | (#32456452)

The paper appeared in the journal Nano Letters, not to be confused with ACS Nano (although both journals belong to the American Chemical Society). Link: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl100499x [acs.org]

Ohio bans intelligent design? (1)

Riskable (19437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457800)

First they try to ban the teaching of evolution and now they want to ban actual intelligent design? MAKE UP YOUR MINDS ALREADY!

Re:Ohio bans intelligent design? (1)

Riskable (19437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457872)

Doh! Wrong thread.

It is 7 in the morning and I'm working on two laptops side-by-side. Each with copious amounts of tabs open. Probably not a good idea... Adding to my TODON'T list.

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