Emergent Futures Tumblelog

This is the Tumblelog of Paul Higgins and Sandy Teagle - Futurists from Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia. Go to Emergent Futures to see more or follow on Twitter at FuturistPaul . If you right click on the pictures, titles or links in these posts you will be able to go to the original story on the web. If you click on comments for each post you can either read what others have said or add your own comment via Disqus. If you click on the date of a post it will take you to a single post view where you can copy the web link if you want to send it to someone else. If you click on the tags it will take you to other stories from Emergent Futures with the same tag.

Rewritable digital data stored in live DNA

“It took us three years and 750 tries to make it work, but we finally did it,” says Jerome Bonnet, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University, who worked with graduate student Pakpoom Subsoontorn and assistant professor Drew Endy to reapply natural enzymes adapted from bacteria to flip specific sequences of DNA back and forth at will.

In practical terms, they have devised the genetic equivalent of a binary digit—a “bit” in data parlance. “Essentially, if the DNA section points in one direction, it’s a zero. If it points the other way, it’s a one,”

Full Story: Futurity

Posted at 8:58pm and tagged with: data, tech, technology, biotechnology,.

Rewritable digital data stored in live DNA


“It took us three years and 750 tries to make it work, but we finally did it,” says Jerome Bonnet, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University, who worked with graduate student Pakpoom Subsoontorn and assistant professor Drew Endy to reapply natural enzymes adapted from bacteria to flip specific sequences of DNA back and forth at will.
In practical terms, they have devised the genetic equivalent of a binary digit—a “bit” in data parlance. “Essentially, if the DNA section points in one direction, it’s a zero. If it points the other way, it’s a one,”

Full Story: Futurity

smarterplanet:

DARPA Launches Program to Industrialize Genetic Engineering

DARPA has launched a program called called “Living Foundries,”designed to apply the conventions of manufacturing to living cells, Wired Danger Room reports.

DARPA has awarded seven research grants worth $15.5 million to six different companies and institutions, including the University of Texas at Austin, Cal Tech, and the J. Craig Venter Institute. “Living Foundries” aspires to streamline genetic engineering for “on-demand production” of whatever bio-product suits the military’s immediate needs, starting with a library of “modular genetic parts.”

The agency wants researchers to come up with a set of “parts, regulators, devices and circuits” that can reliably yield various genetic systems. After that, they’ll also need “test platforms” to quickly evaluate new bio-materials to “compress the biological design-build-test cycle by at least 10X in both time and cost,” while also “increasing the complexity of systems that can be designed and executed.”

What could possibly go wrong?

(via DARPA, Venter launch assembly line for genetic engineering | KurzweilAI)

via joshbyard:

Posted at 2:40am and tagged with: Biotechnology, tech, risk, technology, innovation, genetics, military,.

smarterplanet:

DARPA Launches Program to Industrialize Genetic Engineering
DARPA has launched a program called called “Living Foundries,”designed to apply the conventions of manufacturing to living cells, Wired Danger Room reports.
DARPA has awarded seven research grants worth $15.5 million to six different companies and institutions, including the University of Texas at Austin, Cal Tech, and the J. Craig Venter Institute. “Living Foundries” aspires to streamline genetic engineering for “on-demand production” of whatever bio-product suits the military’s immediate needs, starting with a library of “modular genetic parts.”
The agency wants researchers to come up with a set of “parts, regulators, devices and circuits” that can reliably yield various genetic systems. After that, they’ll also need “test platforms” to quickly evaluate new bio-materials to “compress the biological design-build-test cycle by at least 10X in both time and cost,” while also “increasing the complexity of systems that can be designed and executed.”

What could possibly go wrong?
(via DARPA, Venter launch assembly line for genetic engineering | KurzweilAI)

via joshbyard:

futurescope:

Surgeons restore some hand function to quadriplegic patient

Susan E. Mackinnon, MD, and her surgical team connected a non-working nerve in the upper arm (responsible for controlling the ability to pinch), to a working nerve that drives one of the two muscles that flex the elbow. This restored the patient’s ability to pinch with their thumb and index finger. […]

[read more]

Posted at 5:32pm and tagged with: tech, technology, Biotechnology, health,.

Posted at 10:45pm and tagged with: tech, technology, Biotechnology, computers, future,.

joshbyard:

Researchers Using Bio-Engineered Viruses to Power Nano Electronics

The researchers looked to viruses as a new material to work with because they reproduce rapidly and align far better than other materials, making them good candidates to accumulate a charge on one end of the virus.

The researchers then genetically engineered the virus with proteins that enhance the buildup of charge on the ends of the rod-shaped viruses. The viruses only attack other bacteria so are considered benign.  The viruses are stacked onto thin films and then several thin films are layered to build up as much voltage as possible.

The Lawrence Berkeley Lab group isn’t the first to pursue viruses as a means for building up electric charge. Researchers at MIT in 2009 said they were able to wire a charge-building virus to a lithium ion battery. The Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s prototype was only able to generate about a quarter of the voltage of a triple A battery, but they believe that their approach to “viral electronics” can scale up.

(via Step on it: Virus could lead to motion-powered gadgets | Cutting Edge - CNET News)

Posted at 7:21pm and tagged with: technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, energy,.

joshbyard:

Researchers Using Bio-Engineered Viruses to Power Nano Electronics

The researchers looked to viruses as a new material to work with because they reproduce rapidly and align far better than other materials, making them good candidates to accumulate a charge on one end of the virus.
The researchers then genetically engineered the virus with proteins that enhance the buildup of charge on the ends of the rod-shaped viruses. The viruses only attack other bacteria so are considered benign.  The viruses are stacked onto thin films and then several thin films are layered to build up as much voltage as possible.
The Lawrence Berkeley Lab group isn’t the first to pursue viruses as a means for building up electric charge. Researchers at MIT in 2009 said they were able to wire a charge-building virus to a lithium ion battery. The Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s prototype was only able to generate about a quarter of the voltage of a triple A battery, but they believe that their approach to “viral electronics” can scale up.

(via Step on it: Virus could lead to motion-powered gadgets | Cutting Edge - CNET News)

smarterplanet:

Secrets of the First Practical Artificial Leaf

A detailed description of development of the first practical artificial leaf — a milestone in the drive for sustainable energy that mimics the process, photosynthesis, that green plants use to convert water and sunlight into energy — appears in the ACS journal Accounts of Chemical Research. The article notes that unlike earlier devices, which used costly ingredients, the new device is made from inexpensive materials and employs low-cost engineering and manufacturing processes.

[read more] [paper] [via reddit] [photo credit: ACS]

Posted at 9:11pm and tagged with: tech, technology, biotechnology, energy, biomimicry, innovation,.

smarterplanet:

Secrets of the First Practical Artificial Leaf
A detailed description of development of the first practical artificial leaf — a milestone in the drive for sustainable energy that mimics the process, photosynthesis, that green plants use to convert water and sunlight into energy — appears in the ACS journal Accounts of Chemical Research. The article notes that unlike earlier devices, which used costly ingredients, the new device is made from inexpensive materials and employs low-cost engineering and manufacturing processes.

[read more] [paper] [via reddit] [photo credit: ACS]

joshbyard:

“Human Textiles” Woven From Cellular Structural Material Used to Create Spare Parts for People:

The company developed the “human textile” idea from earlier work using sheets of biological material to reconstruct blood vessels. Basically, researchers grow human skin cells in a culture flask under conditions that encourage the cells to lay down a sheet of what is known as extracellular matrix—a structural material produced by animal cells that makes up our connective tissue. Cytograft can harvest these sheets from the culture flasks and then roll them into tubes that become replacement blood vessels.

Blood vessels produced in this manner are still being tested—but they have performed well, with no signs of rejection, in a few patients in Europe and South America. The rolling process, however, is expensive and time-consuming, in part because cells must be used to fuse the tube together so that it is sturdy enough for transplantation.

Slicing the sheets into thin ribbons that can be spooled into threads makes it possible to use automated weaving and braiding machines to create three-dimensional structures that do not require fusing. Cytograft’s technique draws upon a long history of medical textiles, which are typically produced with synthetic fibers like polyester.

“Creating textiles is an ancient and powerful technique, and combining it with biomaterials is exciting because it has so much more versatility than the sheet method,” says Christopher Breuer, a surgeon, scientist, and tissue engineer at the Yale School of Medicine. “The notion of making blood vessels or more complex shapes like heart valves, or patches for the heart, is much easier to do with fibers,” he says. “If you can make fibers of any length, then there is no limit to the size or shape that you can make.”

(via Spinning Spare Parts - Technology Review)

Posted at 5:31pm and tagged with: technology, tech, biotechnology, health, augmentation,.

joshbyard:

“Human Textiles” Woven From Cellular Structural Material Used to Create Spare Parts for People:

The company developed the “human textile” idea from earlier work using sheets of biological material to reconstruct blood vessels. Basically, researchers grow human skin cells in a culture flask under conditions that encourage the cells to lay down a sheet of what is known as extracellular matrix—a structural material produced by animal cells that makes up our connective tissue. Cytograft can harvest these sheets from the culture flasks and then roll them into tubes that become replacement blood vessels.
Blood vessels produced in this manner are still being tested—but they have performed well, with no signs of rejection, in a few patients in Europe and South America. The rolling process, however, is expensive and time-consuming, in part because cells must be used to fuse the tube together so that it is sturdy enough for transplantation.
Slicing the sheets into thin ribbons that can be spooled into threads makes it possible to use automated weaving and braiding machines to create three-dimensional structures that do not require fusing. Cytograft’s technique draws upon a long history of medical textiles, which are typically produced with synthetic fibers like polyester.
“Creating textiles is an ancient and powerful technique, and combining it with biomaterials is exciting because it has so much more versatility than the sheet method,” says Christopher Breuer, a surgeon, scientist, and tissue engineer at the Yale School of Medicine. “The notion of making blood vessels or more complex shapes like heart valves, or patches for the heart, is much easier to do with fibers,” he says. “If you can make fibers of any length, then there is no limit to the size or shape that you can make.”

(via Spinning Spare Parts - Technology Review)

wildcat2030:

Two British men who have been totally blind for many years have had part of their vision restored after surgery to fit pioneering eye implants. They are able to perceive light and even some shapes from the devices which were fitted behind the retina. The men are part of a clinical trial carried out at the Oxford Eye Hospital and King’s College Hospital in London. Professor Robert MacLaren and Mr Tim Jackson are leading the trial. The two patients, Chris James and Robin Millar, lost their vision due to a condition known as retinitis pigmentosa, where the photoreceptor cells at the back of the eye gradually cease to function. The wafer-thin, 3mm square microelectronic chip has 1,500 light-sensitive pixels which take over the function of the photoreceptor rods and cones. The surgery involves placing it behind the retina from where a fine cable runs to a control unit under the skin behind the ear. (via BBC News - Two blind British men have electronic retinas fitted)

Posted at 9:12pm and tagged with: tech, technology, biotechnology, augmentation,.

wildcat2030:

Two British men who have been totally blind for many years have had part of their vision restored after surgery to fit pioneering eye implants. They are able to perceive light and even some shapes from the devices which were fitted behind the retina. The men are part of a clinical trial carried out at the Oxford Eye Hospital and King’s College Hospital in London. Professor Robert MacLaren and Mr Tim Jackson are leading the trial. The two patients, Chris James and Robin Millar, lost their vision due to a condition known as retinitis pigmentosa, where the photoreceptor cells at the back of the eye gradually cease to function. The wafer-thin, 3mm square microelectronic chip has 1,500 light-sensitive pixels which take over the function of the photoreceptor rods and cones. The surgery involves placing it behind the retina from where a fine cable runs to a control unit under the skin behind the ear. (via BBC News - Two blind British men have electronic retinas fitted)

futurescope:

Tissue Engineering by self-assembly

Cytograft has developed novel technologies that utilize the cell’s own biological processes to produce versatile tissues with remarkable mechanical strength that are free from synthetic scaffolds or exogenous biomaterials.

These robust biogenic tissues can be used as building blocks to support the construction of complex three-dimensional structures to restore function to diseased tissues and organs. 

from ScienceDaily:

Cytograft, which L’Heureux and Todd McAllister co-founded in 2000, has indeed developed vessels that are “completely biological, completely human and living, which is the Cadillac of treatments … and it seems to work really well,” L’Heureux says.

First the team created blood vessels from patients’ own skin cells. Then, in June, the company announced that three dialysis patients had received the world’s first lab-grown blood vessels made from skin cells from donors, which eliminates the long lead time needed for making vessels from a patient’s own cells. And now Cytograft has developed a new technique for making human textiles that promises to reduce the production cost of these vessels by half. […]

[read more] [Cytograft] [via]

Posted at 2:50am and tagged with: tech, technology, biotechnology, health,.

futurescope:

Tissue Engineering by self-assembly

Cytograft has developed novel technologies that utilize the cell’s own biological processes to produce versatile tissues with remarkable mechanical strength that are free from synthetic scaffolds or exogenous biomaterials.
These robust biogenic tissues can be used as building blocks to support the construction of complex three-dimensional structures to restore function to diseased tissues and organs. 

from ScienceDaily:

Cytograft, which L’Heureux and Todd McAllister co-founded in 2000, has indeed developed vessels that are “completely biological, completely human and living, which is the Cadillac of treatments … and it seems to work really well,” L’Heureux says.
First the team created blood vessels from patients’ own skin cells. Then, in June, the company announced that three dialysis patients had received the world’s first lab-grown blood vessels made from skin cells from donors, which eliminates the long lead time needed for making vessels from a patient’s own cells. And now Cytograft has developed a new technique for making human textiles that promises to reduce the production cost of these vessels by half. […]

[read more] [Cytograft] [via]

vahidmotlagh:

says Robert Lanza, a regenerative-medicine specialist at Advanced Cell Technologies, a biotechnology firm headquartered in Santa Monica, California. “These three papers are just the tip of the iceberg. By the time we grow old, doctors are going to look back and say, ‘Can you believe people used to go bald, go blind or even have their leg cut off from vascular disease?’ — and then the doctor will treat the problem with an injection of cells.”

Posted at 12:01pm and tagged with: health, innovation, Biotechnology, longevity,.