Bored with your iPhone? Try turning it into a low-cost spectrophotometer. Some researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have come up with a an iPhone app and a cradle packed with biosensor technology that will let users detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other biological material.
The sensors could allow people to run field tests to spot poisons, measure food safety, and even make medical diagnoses using an iPhone.
When you see the words “biological computer,” it’s easy to get carried away and assume we’ll be replacing silicon with living matter. That might eventually happen, but for today, the biological computer in question is much simpler and is placed inside a living cell.
Researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine have invented genetic transistors. Along with earlier work that produced data storage in DNA and a sort of biological Internet that allows for data to be transferred from cell to cell, the new transistors make biological computers possible. Continue reading