Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Say Hi to the Protocell

I've been feeling like biology and engineering are in the process of merging. There have been more and more cross-over concepts/technologies in recent years (think algae that makes H2, bacteria that makes crude oil, and using butterfly wings to understand photonic crystals). Now we are appearantly on the verge of the Protocell. Link-Wired

Just imagine, plop in some DNA, lets things evolve in specific conditions, see what comes out- repeat, pick the best- repeat. Cells are specifically evolved to perfrom tasks on the atomic level. It is how calcium becomes bone, it is how iron sticks to blood, and it is how food becomes atomic poop. The microelectronics world are quickly approaching the atomic level with 45nm consumer level transistor sizes, they are already at 450 atoms per element. People point to nano-particles, and yes they are going to play a huge roll in the future, but nano-particles still represents a relatively traditional way of processing. The Protocell is totally new, innovative, and really scary. 

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