People who need artificial limbs to help with their day-to-day living are among those who are likely to benefit from a project funded with the help of €1.974 million (euros) from the Information Society Technologies area of the EUs Framework Programme.
The MOL SWITCH project set out to build a single-molecule DNA sequencing device and a MOLecular magnetic SWITCH that links the biological and silicon worlds. This nano-switch combines a biological motor and a moving magnetic bead that will help in the development of biosensors, ‘new generation’ prosthetics and provide a means to move artificial limbs by changing the mechanism of interfacing humans and computers.
“The Mol Switch Project is one of the most successful research projects I have been involved with”, says project co-ordinator Keith Firman, from the University of Portsmouth. “Our original aim was to produce a device that could link the biological world and the silicon world through the use of a biological molecular motor. As such it was always an ambitious project and that is why we sought funding from the EU. The concept was based on the idea of a simple molecular dynamo - the molecular motor would move a magnetic bead, attached to DNA, past a sensor, which would switch a sensor producing electrons that could switch a silicon device such as a computer. The potential use of such a device might be to activate artificial limbs from existing muscle of an amputee, to fly aircraft under high G-force, or as a generic biosensor - the uses are wide varying.
Dave Sanders | alfa
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