Squids have provided the key ingredient for a proton-conducting transistor, that may allow man-made devices to communicate with living systems
The proton-conducting transistor (left) and a close-up of its chitosan fibers (right) (Image: University of Washington)
When it comes to sending and receiving information, man-made devices utilize negatively-charged particles commonly known as electrons. Biological systems such as human bodies, on the other hand, use protons via positively charged hydrogen atoms or ions. This would indicate that there is something of a language barrier, when we try to develop electronic devices that can communicate with living systems. That barrier could be on its way down, however, as scientists from the University of Washington have developed a transistor that can conduct pulses of protons - and they've done it with some help from our friends the cephalopods.
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