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An Electronic System like Life or Biology:

  • Uncategorized
  • Aug 04, 2021

A research team has created an electronic microsystem that can react intelligently to information input without an external energy supply. The microsystem consists of a new type of electronics that can handle extremely low-level electronic signals and contains a device that can generate electricity from scratch from the environment. According to the Army Research Laboratory of the U. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, this groundbreaking project is producing a self-sustaining intelligent microsystem. It represents an ongoing advancement of the team's most recent research.  Previously, the research team discovered that an air-based generator can generate electricity from the environment / ambient moisture protein nanowires Air-Gen, a device that will continuously generate electricity in almost all natural environments on earth by 2020. Now let's put the two together by making microsystems that use Air-Gen electricity to power sensors and circuitry made up of protein nanowire memrisistors.

Now the electronic microsystem can draw energy from the environment without the need for an external power source such as battery.  It has complete energy self-sufficiency and intelligence, as well as autonomy just like any living organism. The system is also made of environmentally friendly biomaterial - protein nanowires obtained from bacteria. Yao and Lovley developed the air gene from the Geobacter microbe. It was then used to build memristors from moisture in air and then to mimic human intelligence. In terms of both function and material, researchers are making an electronic system more like life or biology.

It is particularly exciting that protein nanowire memristors are stable in an aqueous environment and are prone to further functionalization. Additional functionalization promise not only to increase their stability, but also to expand their use for sensors and novel communication modalities, that are important for the army.