In the field of transhumanism there are a lot of pioneers that want to improve their own bodies with electronic hardware to extend the human capacities – the so called grinders. We already reported about Tim Cannon, who self-implanted a small computer inside his arm and the invisible headphone implants by Rich Lee. There is also the online community Biohack.me, that discuss body-hack purposes.
Now there comes a daring group of 4 bio-hackers from various backgrounds, with a crowdfunded project: they developed a protocol to augment human sight to see into the near infrared range through human formation of porphyropsin. It is the same protein complex that grants infrared vision to freshwater fish and it can be extracted from their livers.
A group of chemical engineers and biochemists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology released a new study presenting a way to improve the efficiency of plants light harvesting during the photosynthesis.
Embedding carbon nanotubes – microscopic tubes thinner than a human hair able to absorb sunlight and convert it to electron flow – inside the leaves, they were able to augment the amount of light energy captured by the plant.
“Plants have, for a long time, provided us with valuable products like food, biofuels, construction materials and the oxygen we breathe”, explains plant biologist and chemical engineer Juan Pablo Giraldo. “We envisioned them as new hybrid biomaterials for solar energy harnessing, self-repairing materials and chemical detectors of pollutants, pesticides, and fungal and bacterial infections.”
Rebuilding plants into bionic superpowered energy photosynthesizers.
Read more on: Scientific American
Bionics and augmentation have been progressing slowly but with great certainty, and the latest advance, while still not commercially viable, is bound to raise the bar in as far as bionic, robotics and physical augmentation. Prosthetic limbs have become a technically complex, functional and socially acceptable form of augmentation for the disabled, but one ability has been conspicuously missing – the ability to touch.
This is bound the change with the invention of the LifeHand 2, a prosthetic hand that infers the ability to feel rudimentary shapes and forms by touch.
So, you are well aware that biotech will drive our evolution, you took the crash course on synthetic genomics, you’ve got your map of the DNA world in your backpack and are now eager to redesign some microbes that turn waste into energy, eat plastic, detect flu, or build a better being altogether? You have a brilliant project plan already, but only need some – let say– euro 25.000 and a bit of help from a research group to turn your vision into reality? We have cake for you.
Another breakthrough in the fusion of the made and the born: the world’s first completely artificial heart was recently transplanted in France in a patient nearing the end of his life.
Lithium-battery powered and self-regulating, the heart mimics the human organ like no other device. It is made from soft biomaterials and functions with the aid of a multitude of sensors designed to copy every little detail of a real beating heart, explain its chief engineers Alain Carpentier and Philippe Pouletty. This transplant is a significant moment for regenerative medicine, representing the first viable alternative to a real transplanted heart.
Read more on RT
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) has one major benefit over traditional gasoline – it’s cheap. About 1/3 of the cost, to be exact. Unfortunately, it also has to be kept under very high pressure, which means that traditional gas tanks simply can’t stand up to it. Until now, the only way to store CNG fuel has been in reinforced plain geometric cylinders. Used for their strength, they also take up valuable space and weigh quite a lot. Chrysler is trying to find a better way, using human lungs as inspiration. Enrico Pisino, Chrysler’s senior manager of innovation, explains that human lungs store oxygen in numerous small sacs called alveoli, and that his researchers are using this method to design new, stronger storage tanks.
Recently the internet has become fascinated with a fruit fly found in the United Arab Emirates whose wings appear to have an ornate pattern deliberately resembling an ant-like insect. With some experts confirming that the pattern indeed represents an ant, the image has been explained in a different light by Morgan D. Jackson, an entomology student at the University of Guelph in Canada.