Ann--I really did not state my comments too well. What I really meant to say was projects like this one represent efforts considerably more worthwhile than ones we sometime see receiving funding; i.e. "promoting specialty shampoo for dogs", "how golfers might benefit from using their imagination", "prom week"--a game that allows taxpayers to relive their prom night, etc. You get the picture. Each year Tom Coburn publishes his "Wastebook" series that lists the most egregious earmarks. Projects we can all probably live without. The biosynthetic micro project is one example of a long-term project well worth the effort and one which will probably produce results that can actually benefit individuals. I think NSF does a commendable job and provides significant value added to science and technology in general. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to restate my message. Again, great article.
bobjengr, glad you enjoyed the article. This is multi-national research, not confined to the US, and the funding source is the National Science Foundation (NSF), which has a long history of science funding and support. I'm curious why you think this should be funded by the government and/or private enterprise?
I don't want to get political but this is exactly the technology our federal government and private enterprise should be funding. This technology has the prospect of making better the lives of individuals with disabilities and those with disabilities resulting from accidents. The very thought of being able to communicate in this fashion must be very exciting to those researchers involved. Excellent article Ann.
Beth, mrdon is right: the lamprey was chosen for its swimming motions that the robot will emulate. Cell-to-cell communication is a project goal, and not particularly related to the choice of animal model.
Hi Beth, No sure about the cell to cell communication but I envision the movement of the biosynthetic micro-robot to be that of the sea lamprey which is a long side to side propulsion of travel. Just guessing!
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