Nanowire Mesh Links Cells and Electronics

The act of joining living tissue with electronics has long been imagined in the world of science fiction, but cybernetic organisms are now one step closer to reality thanks to work emerging from Harvard University and MIT.

Researchers at those institutions have built tiny electronic meshes out of silicon nanowires and have used them as scaffolds to grow nerve, heart, and muscle tissue. The most immediate application of the work, described yesterday in the online edition of the journal Nature Materials, may be a new type of sensor system for in vitro testing of new drugs. But further down the road the research may lead to artificial eyes, implantable chips to control prosthetic limbs, and other devices that can communicate between electronics and living cells, says Charles Lieber, the professor of chemistry and engineering at Harvard who initiated and led the research. [read more..]