In know what you mean. When they first briefed me I kept asking them to confirm that they were going to use real living cells! At first, of course, they are just going to copy what cells do, and use their DNA to pattern chips, but eventually they want to build synthetic bio-electronic hybrids--genetically engineered cells designed to living in a micro-fluidic environment on a semiconductor, first to provide a bio-to-external electronic interface for implants and sensors, but eventually to perform biological "computations" all on their own. More than a little scary!
The era of living electronics would seem to be upon us. Last year the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories genetically engineered a living virus to be piezoelectric enabling self-assembling arrays of them to produce enough electricity to illuminate an LCD display. Now SRC is expanding that concept in a multi-year development effort to use all sorts of synthetic biology to integrate biological materials, know-how and even living organisms into semiconductors. A few years ago this would have been science fiction, but with MIT, Yale, Georgia Tech and the other leading research universities on the task, SRC predicts living electronics within a decade, and many intermediate breakthroughs along the way.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.