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mrdon
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Biosynthetic Micro-Robot applications
mrdon   10/22/2012 12:12:03 PM
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Hi Ann, Biosynthetic Micro-Robot research seems quite interesting based on your article. It's truly fascinating when electronics and biology are integrated to create these wonderful autonomous cells for the benefit it aiding the human body, for example drug delivery. The application of pollutants monitoring is quite interesting because of the micron level being engaged with these small biosynthetic machines. Who knows, allergies may become a thing of the past if such micro-machines can be used to eliminate their nose reactive bacteria. Great article as always Ann!

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Biosynthetic Micro-Robot applications
Ann R. Thryft   10/22/2012 12:48:57 PM
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Thanks, mrdon. Allergies, eh? I hadn't thought of that in re this robot and drug delivery. Sounds like a great idea!--I suffer from them year-round. Right now, it's mold season in the redwoods, last week it was still dust and pollen season.

mrdon
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Re: Biosynthetic Micro-Robot applications
mrdon   10/22/2012 1:06:00 PM
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Hi Ann, Mold is a pesky little bacteria that can use some biosynthetic micro-robot cleansing. Also, cancer researchers may be able to put these robots to good use as well.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Biosynthetic Micro-Robot applications
Beth Stackpole   10/22/2012 2:23:22 PM
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Sounds like some pretty radical foundational technology that could have huge impact across a wide variety of applications. The biomickry stuff you've been writing about is pretty amazing. But I have to ask: What is a sea lamprey?

mrdon
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Re: Biosynthetic Micro-Robot applications
mrdon   10/22/2012 2:32:16 PM
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Hi Beth, A sea lamprey looks an eel that attaches to fish with a suction mouth embedded with razor sharp teeth. Here's a wikipedia link with addtional information about them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_lamprey

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Biosynthetic Micro-Robot applications
Ann R. Thryft   10/22/2012 3:52:16 PM
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Good description, mrdon. Beth, you might think of a sea lamprey as an eel-like saltwater piranha.

mrdon
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Re: Biosynthetic Micro-Robot applications
mrdon   10/23/2012 12:49:46 AM
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Hi Ann, Your description of an eel like saltwater piranha is truly a good way of defining a sea lamprey.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Biosynthetic Micro-Robot applications
Beth Stackpole   10/23/2012 7:52:09 AM
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Ok. Thanks for clarifying. Either of you have any insight as to why an eel-like piranha lends itself to this kind of cell-to-cell communication?

mrdon
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Gold
Re: Biosynthetic Micro-Robot applications
mrdon   10/23/2012 9:37:28 AM
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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!

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Biosynthetic Micro-Robot applications
Ann R. Thryft   10/23/2012 12:15:06 PM
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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.

bobjengr
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Platinum
BIOSYNTHETIC MICRO-ROBOT
bobjengr   10/23/2012 6:10:48 PM
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  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.   

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: BIOSYNTHETIC MICRO-ROBOT
Ann R. Thryft   10/24/2012 12:00:14 PM
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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?



bobjengr
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Re: BIOSYNTHETIC MICRO-ROBOT
bobjengr   10/24/2012 6:10:37 PM
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 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. 

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: BIOSYNTHETIC MICRO-ROBOT
Ann R. Thryft   10/24/2012 7:03:10 PM
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bobjengr, thanks for clarifying. That makes a lot more sense. I've been a fan of the NSF, and a Science News subscriber, for about 30 years.



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