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Technology Science

Silk Protein Photonics 26

Posted by timothy
from the need-more-spiders dept.
Researchers in the Dept. of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University have used a straightforward, water based extraction method to make pure, ultra-transparent silk films. These films can be patterned with photonic devices, like diffraction gratings and infused with proteins and enzymes allowing biochemically active, cheap, printable optics to be fabricated. Applications to implantable optical sensors are almost limitless. (Disclaimer: I am part of this research group.)
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Silk Protein Photonics

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  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @03:46PM (#24516171) Journal

    After reading the article, I come to the conclusion that this would be perfect for edible underwear.

    Research team -- look into this.

    • by witte (681163)
      Also, since this is Tufts University, can it be used to log MAC and IP addresses ?
      </cheap shot>
    • Wow. I read the article and still had time for first post. If this were Saturday, I would think everyone else was getting ready for a hot date.

      • by UID30 (176734) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @03:54PM (#24516317)

        ...getting ready for a hot date.

        You know this is slashdot, don't you?

      • by knarfling (735361)

        That is because the article and the summary are hard to match up. The summary talks about low cost, printable optics on silk, but does not give much detail of some of the applications. So I went to the article to get a better idea, and read about "edible optics."

        At first glance they seem to be talking about two different things. I do not know about you, but I am not in the habit of eating silk on a regular basis. And silk with sensors on it? How would I get the info from the sensors after eating it? If it i

    • by Joe Snipe (224958)

      Research team -- look into this.

      slashdot research team ASSEMBLE!

      this is going to make me laugh all day.

  • by UID30 (176734) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @03:52PM (#24516293)

    Is there a nerd-to-geek translation available for this article? How many Wattabytes can that protien infused diffusion grate optical sensor hold? ... and more importantly, does it run Linux? ... beowulf cluster?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Is there a nerd-to-geek translation available for this article? How many Wattabytes can that protien infused diffusion grate optical sensor hold? ... and more importantly, does it run Linux? ... beowulf cluster?

      Wrong Wrong Wrong!!! It's the WEB 3.0!!!!

  • So if it is edible, where in my system do these break down? Am I to expect my digestive bacteria to be holding psychedelic rave parties in my intestines?

    • >Am I to expect my digestive bacteria to be holding psychedelic rave parties in my intestines?

      Yes, they already are. Now with the correct wireless interface to the optical sensors, you can have live, streaming video of the interior of your GI tract on your website. Follow the exciting path of Thursday's Tequila shooters and tacos with extra Habanero salsa.

    • by mikiN (75494)

      Am I to expect my digestive bacteria to be holding psychedelic rave parties in my intestines?

      ROTFLMAO!

      Queue video of grooving intestinal bacteria getting their stomp on. "Wow, this tastes like Infected Mushroom, yummy!" "Nice visuals by the way, must be the Growling Mad Scientists of Tufts University."

  • Enzyme Stabilization (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @04:58PM (#24517411)
    I was interested in the stabilization effect this has on the enzymes doped onto the silk substrate. According to TFA, they wind up with a room-temperature self life of a year or so compared to hours otherwise. This could make all kinds of tests and indicators way cheaper. how about E. coli sensitive wrappers for meat products?
  • FTA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dk90406 (797452) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @05:03PM (#24517523)
    I RTFA, and was a little surprised. Obviously this was a press release (and shown as such), but my thoughts were:
    • They have discovered something important, but failed to communicate it properly
    • They may have something - but it is highly speculative
    • If they have something - why chose chose such a bad as bad food? No explanation is presented. Power Source? Needed at all? Processor? etc..
    • There might some more interesting applications for this stuff, think of translucent cloth.

    I saw you guys are all making fun, but story shows how academia struggles to communicate to the public.
    Unfurtunatly /. is not the typical public.

    • Well what is it then?
      --
      Project Powder Wiki [projectpowderpro.com]
    • by UID30 (176734)

      Unfurtunatly /. is not the typical public.

      *boggle*
      s/Unfurtunatly/Fortunately/

    • by Americano (920576)

      They have discovered something important, but failed to communicate it properly.

      How have they failed to communicate it properly? They were able to embed biologically active molecules in optics made of silk protein. They found that the silk protein is able to be processed using water (rather than harsh chemicals) at room temperature (rather than at very high or low temperatures). What this means is, the conditions required for production of these silk optics will not destroy the biologically active mole

  • "Ultra-transparent silk films"? It's a natural. I don't see what all this nerdy science stuff has to do with see-through panties, though.

  • Spinach! bah (Score:2, Interesting)

    by StormShaman (603879)

    Spinach! Sure, the most recent E. Coli scare was with spinach, but I'd like to see this on fish, so I could know what fish to buy for sashimi.

  • Well, if this is edible, then the natural way to combine it with geeks is to infuse it with caffeine. I can see the advert now. Lan party going on too long? Need that extra hit of caffiene? Out of energy drinks, and even caffeinated mints? Now, you can get that kick you need, by eating your own shirt! Some geeks have needed biochemically active clothing for a while though. Not for eating, but to tell them when they're 'done' and it's time to change. I doubt it would sell as well, but if you figured-out so

Klein bottle for rent -- inquire within.

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