Light is key to ultrasensitive chemical sensors.
Kwanchai Lerttanapunyaporn/EyeEm via Getty Images
An optical sensor that can detect individual molecules promises early detection of diseases and environmental contamination.
In the not-too-distant future, tattoos could become medical diagnostic devices as well as body art.
LightFieldStudios/iStock via Getty Images
Researchers are developing tattoo inks that do more than make pretty colors. Some can sense chemicals, temperature and UV radiation, setting the stage for tattoos that diagnose health problems.
Imagine using synthetic DNA as a sensor recording device.
One way to make sensors small is to make them out of something that's incredibly small in the first place, such as DNA.
Chishuru, a male African elephant, indicates a target scent during trials.
Elephants have the highest count of olfactory receptor genes of any species tested to date. This suggests that they may be the best smellers in the animal kingdom.
Will your cellphone be able to communicate with bacteria in your body?
Bacteria image via www.shutterstock.com.
New research works out how to translate between the language of biology – molecules – and the language of microelectronics – electrons. It could open the door to new kinds of biosensors and therapeutics.
A hydro-responsive thread can be used with sensors to monitor body functions.
Alonso Nichols, Tufts University
Flexible, easy to make, inexpensive, stretchable and simple to coat with nanomaterials, threads are also very commonly used by doctors already.
Humidity levels can mean life or death for insects.
Detecting drier or wetter conditions is crucial for insect survival. We've long known they can do this – now researchers have discovered the genetic and neural basis for their humidity-sensing system.
Astronaut Cady Coleman harvests one of our plants on Space Shuttle Columbia.
Plants on the International Space Station must figure out how to grow in a completely novel environment. Their adaptability hints at how they'll react to changes here on Earth – or in future space outposts.