A bionic microchip that replicates the working of human parts with extra high fidelity is the recipient of the Best Design of the Year Award given out each year.
Once in a while, something comes along that makes mankind ponder awhile on its own qualities of invention and discovery. Paola Antonelli who works at MOMA as a design and architecture curator made a welcome addition to his repertoire of fine stuff that is mindboggling in its nature.
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It consists of a transparent plastic chip that resembles a USB and it can have a huge influence on the future of science. Especially the penumbra where electronics and biology meet and meld is what this unique device is all about.
"This winning design is a great example of how design is a collaborative practice embracing expertise and know how across disciplines. Its selection as Design of the Year 2015 also signifies a desire to recognize and award design that can significantly impact society now and in the future," said Gemma Curtin, who is the Designs of the Year 2015 exhibition curator.
Termed “Organs-On-Chips”, the contraption is precisely what its name suggests. But is this even remotely possible in today’s world? Apparently, the answer is a resounding “YES”. It is actually a microchip that has microtubules in it through which fluids may run. These tubules are hollow in their structure.
The inner lining of these tubules consists of human cells. And a number of biological agents such as atmospheric mixtures, all types of blood, bits and pieces of vital nutritional nourishment and harmful and healing bacteria can be forced through the pipelines that are part-biological and part-technological.
The process via which this device 'Organs-on-Chips' got manufactured is very similar to how Intel makes its chips for motherboards. However, there is a big difference. And that is in the inner contents which do not consist of a flow of electrons but rather comprise all sorts of biological components.
Cells from virtually any and every organ of the human body can be transported through this chip. The specialized technology employed in this microchip is called “microfluidics” which almost reminds one of a Cyborg future.
“We are deeply honored that our Organs-on-Chips have been awarded Design of the Year, and we are passionately following our mission to apply our new living products for a range of applications to improve human health,” said Geraldine A. Hamilton, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Emulate.
“This prestigious recognition inspires us even more to translate the Organs-on-Chips technology into a commercially-available system that can be used to design better and safer products for humans, as well as creating a new era of applications in the personalized health space.”
The basic bionic gimmick is built to mimic human organs down to their working order at the microscopic level. It could serve as an ideal testing ground for medicinal agents and their effects on organs. This way human test subjects will not need to be made into guinea pigs. And even animal species will be spared the deleterious and harmful effects of lab testing.
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Half a decade ago it was all on paper. But now it is a feasible idea and ready to be put into practice. Awarded with the Design of the Year, it is a very cool thing for sure. Organs-On-Chips will radically revolutionize the cutting edge field of biotechnology for the better. The future is now!