Tuesday, October 09, 2007

KC Adams: Aboriginal Cyborg Hybrids on exhibit

Cyborg Hybrids brings two worlds together - Queen's Journal: Here's a playful look at stereotypes and cyborgs:
"Drawing on Donna Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto, in which Harroway describes cyborgs as people living in a technological world free of the limitations of gender and race, Adams uses part of the philosophy to create a modern vision of aboriginal people in Canada, who are part of the future instead of constantly linked to a romanticized past. 'I'm bringing them to the future with the idea of the cyborg. I'm painting them in the present and in the future instead of the past which is what the media chooses to do,' she said. 'There are not enough positive role models in the media. It's fighting back against those stereotypes that you always see and hear about - neutralize and mock it.'"

Monday, October 08, 2007

Crab-like Biomimetic Micro-Robots

Establishment of a fabrication method for a long-term actuated hybrid cell robo..... (DOI: 10.1039/b705367c)

A collaboration between scientists at the Nano-Bio Research Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology in Korea, the School of Electrical Engineering, Seoul National University in Korea, The Whitaker Institute for Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland USA, the School of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering at Hankuk Aviation University in Korea, the School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology at Korea University, and the School of Mechanical Systems Engineering at Chonnam National University in Korea has resulted in the following conclusions:

"By growing rat muscle tissue onto a polymer backbone, the movement of a cell-powered microrobot was demonstrated for the first time. The most significant results from this study are as follows. (1) Our microrobot was a self-assembled hybrid consisting of biotic muscle cells and a PDMS backbone—a well-known biocompatible material. (2) The surface of the PDMS backbone was engineered with a 3D grooved pattern that led to high-order cell concentrations and enabled a high generative force from the muscle cells. (3) The PDMS was easily fabricated by using a micromolding procedure thus allowing for high throughput and mass-production of cell-powered microrobots. (4) This is the first report describing the results of long-term monitoring of primary cultured cardiomyocytes on microrobots. A potential application for the microrobot developed in this study may be to work for certain periods of time within small lumens or vessels or ducts, perhaps to remove various types of blockages which have accumulated in the ducts when the degradable elaborated microrobot is finally aimed to the blockages. By injecting or inserting into the ducts, the microrobot will survive and actively engage in beating movement along the length of the duct and some types of dissolving agent could be contained in the microrobot to clear the blockages."

"I was awash in an ocean of data: Livejournal scan of Cyborg Superman #1

Brain-to-Machine Algorithm

MIT develops brain-to-machine algorithm | Tech news blog - CNET News.com: "Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said Wednesday that they've developed an algorithm for a neural prosthetic aid that can link an individual's brain activity to the person's intentions; and then translate that intention into movement. Of course, other scientists have already done that, and built prototypes for neural brain-to-machine devices that can work for animals or humans. But each team has taken a different approach to the problem, such as developing algorithms for measuring activity in a specific brain region, or measuring them through EEGs vs. optical imaging. MIT said that it has developed a unified algorithm that can work within the parameters of these different approaches. Lakshminarayan 'Ram' Srinivasan, lead author of a paper on the subject, said MIT's new graphical models are applicable no matter what measurement technique is used. 'We don't need to reinvent a new paradigm for each modality or brain region,' he said in a statement."

Cyborgs, Purchase your Genes Here

GENEART Presents The Industrial Production Of Genes, Gene Libraries and Genomes At The Biotechnica

"Regensburg, October 02, 2007 - GENEART AG, as the global leader in the gene synthesis market and specialist in the synthetic biology sector, presents the industrial production of synthetic genes, gene libraries and entire genomes at the Biotechnica in Hannover (Germany). From October 09 to 11, experts from the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology companies, scientists from academic fields, investors and journalists will engage in a global information exchange at the key event in the European biotechnology. More than 900 companies from around 30 countries will inform more than 12,000 visitors about new developments in the entire biotechnology field. The organizers have particularly recognized the increased significance of both industrial and plant biotechnology. GENEART therefore welcomes the Biotechnica as an ideal forum to showcase its state of the art production technology of synthetic genes (the building plans for living organisms) to customers from all parts of the globe. As demonstrated in the genome project HUGO ("Human Genome Organization"), modern gene sequencing and gene analysis methods produce an enormous amount of data on gene sequences. This flood of information by far exceeds the capabilities of conventional genetic engineering to provide these genes for conventional lab work, e.g. for the development of therapeutics. During the last ten years, a gap has emerged between the available gene sequence information on the one hand and the lower number of isolated genes on the other hand. GENEART bridges this gap with its industrial production process of synthetic genes. The company is able to provide any gene fast and efficient once the respective gene sequence information is available."

DNA Researcher Craig Venter creates synthetic chomosome, evokes terror

I am creating artificial life, declares US gene pioneer | Science | The Guardian:

Life is no longer read-only:

"Mr Venter said he had carried out an ethical review before completing the experiment. 'We feel that this is good science,' he said. He has further heightened the controversy surrounding his potential breakthrough by applying for a patent for the synthetic bacterium.

Pat Mooney, director of a Canadian bioethics organisation, ETC group, said the move was an enormous challenge to society to debate the risks involved. 'Governments, and society in general, is way behind the ball. This is a wake-up call - what does it mean to create new life forms in a test-tube?'

He said Mr Venter was creating a 'chassis on which you could build almost anything. It could be a contribution to humanity such as new drugs or a huge threat to humanity such as bio-weapons'.

Mr Venter believes designer genomes have enormous positive potential if properly regulated. In the long-term, he hopes they could lead to alternative energy sources previously unthinkable. Bacteria could be created, he speculates, that could help mop up excessive carbon dioxide, thus contributing to the solution to global warming, or produce fuels such as butane or propane made entirely from sugar."

Cyborg Kevin Warwick researches integrated brain circuts to thwart pain and tremors

Investor's Business Daily: Original Cyborg Warwick Firmly On Cutting Edge: "Warwick has partnered this year with Tipu Aziz, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Oxford. They're developing a kind of pacemaker device to control the tremors and pain caused by Parkinson's disease. The two already have devised a system to deliver constant electrical pulses to block such pain. Now they want to be able to selectively do this in advance of tremors."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Artificial corneas for cyborgs


Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Research News 10-2007-Topic 3

Artificial corneas will mean we no longer have to wait for donor corneas.

“Our artificial corneas are based on a commercially available polymer which absorbs no water and allows no cells to grow on it,” says IAP project manager Dr. Joachim Storsberg. “Once our partner Dr. Schmidt Intraokularlinsen GmbH has suitably shaped the polymers, we selectively coat the implants: We lay masks on them and apply a special protein to the edge of the cornea, which the cells of the natural cornea can latch onto. In this way, the cornea implant can firmly connect with the natural part of the cornea, while the center remains free of cells and therefore clear.” What is special about this protein is that it can survive the later thermal sterilization of the artificial cornea without being damaged, as it does not have the three-dimensional structure typical of large proteins. Such a structure would be destroyed during the sterilization process, leading to changes in the material’s properties. The optical front part of the implant is coated with a hydrophilic polymer, so that it is constantly moistened with tear fluid.