Uncrackable electronics – a shell of an idea?

Wouldn’t you like your hand-held electronic devices to last for a long time…at least until the next hi-tech device caught your fancy?

Well, Angela Belcher, a scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is using abalone, a sea snail, to develop biologically-based nano-materials that have the ability to genetically fix themselves if they break or crack.

Belcher is currently working on a nano-scale rechargeable battery, which is comprised of a virus that she and her colleagues engineered to latch itself to cobalt oxide. The viral films are said to look like plastic food wraps that one day could be poured onto the object its powering like a coat of energizing paint.

“Abalone shells are self-assembling. What if we could make a material that is self-re-assembling? What if iPods and Blackberrys could genetically mend their own cracks? These devices get dropped; they break; what material can we make so they fix themselves?”

Thinking about my ipod mending its own cracks actually creeps me out a bit. Also reminds me of this science fiction novel by Michael Crichton called “Prey”. If my electronics become nasty and start attacking me, how the heck will I destroy them if they can heal themselves???

Definitely something to think about…



Leave a Reply