Spinning Silk into Sensors

Technology Review: Spinning Silk into Sensors:

A simple process turns cocoons into optical devices with biological applications.
By Katherine Bourzac

Fiorenzo Omenetto on the steps of the Tufts bioengineering building, where he makes silk optical devices.
Credit: Porter Gifford

Silkworm cocoons shipped by the boxful from Japan to an optics lab at Tufts University will meet a different fate from those headed to textile factories around the world. Rather than being woven into curtains or clothing, the strong protein fibers that caterpillars once spun around themselves will be used to build optical materials that can serve as the basis for sensors and other devices. Bioengineer Fiorenzo Omenetto, who creates the devices, ultimately hopes to build implantable, biodegradable sensors that could help monitor patients' progress after surgery or track chronic diseases such as diabetes.

See how cocoons are turned into optical devices.

Watch Fiorenzo Omenetto explain his work in silk optics.

(Via Technology Review)



Photo by Vincent Leclerc

EMLI is a student project from Daniel Campbell and Daniel Roberts, made while they were enrolled in Vincent Leclerc's Physical Computing class at Concordia University in 2007.

The two Daniels built a hardware interface to receive millivolt signals from plants and sonify them in MAX/MSP on an Apple MacBook Pro. Their results and especially the reactions of the plants were eerily similar to our own findings. Most interesting is the end of their video, seen here, where the plant reacts to the intent to close their program, but stops when they point this out.

Their project was inspired by many of the same researchers that we have looked to: Cleve Backster, George L. Lawrence, and Michael Theroux.

The Return of Amateur Science

The Return of Amateur Science: "Boing Boing’s Mark Frauenfelder explains how the natural tinkerers who built the web are starting to hack the world.
Last week, while browsing the Popular Science archives (which recently became available on Google), I noticed that the earlier issues of this 138-year-old magazine contained quite a few articles devoted to amateur science. The 1940s and 1950s were a heyday for basement-based research, with experiments such as making hydrogen gas, building a photomicrographic camera out of a stovepipe, constructing…

(Via GOOD - Blogs)

Scientists try to let the blind 'see' fish

Scientists try to let the blind 'see' fish: "As brightly colored fish dart in and out of the rocks scattered in a small aquarium, a bewildering melody follows each of their movements.
Video here.
(Via Science and Space - Top Stories) relaunch


Friends Michele Darling and Terry Golob relaunch the website for their aerostatic music project today.

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