SKETCHBOOK

Recently updated: I’ve decided to use this section to pull out different research threads I’m investigating and track how those threads evolve. Each of the posts below will be updated as research evolves - be it a material experiment, news item, event.

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TECHNO-BIO REMEDIATION

This research thread tracks experiments, evidence and thoughts around technology as an ally in the remediation of our damaged nature.


NEWS STORY: “This scientist thinks she has the key to curb climate change: super plants” , 14.04.19, BBC

“We’re trying to do something that’s a huge, complicated thing even though it sounds so simple,” Chory says. “Plants evolved to suck up CO2 and they’re really good at it. And they concentrate it, which no machine can do, and they make it into useful materials, like sugar. They suck up all the CO2, they fix it, then it goes back up into the atmosphere.”

Dr Joanne Chory is working to design plants capable of storing even more carbon dioxide in their roots. Her Ideal Plant projectuses gene editing – via traditional horticulture and Crispr – to do so. On a large scale, this could suck enough carbon out of the atmosphere to slow down climate change.

This concept basically splices the genes of regular crops and everyday plants like beans, corn and cotton, with a new compound that makes them absorb more carbon. Their roots then transfer it to the soil to keep it there.

This approach essentially supercharges what nature already does.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/16/super-plants-climate-change-joanne-chory-carbon-dioxide?CMP=fb_gu&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR0yG5HkeOPbP6th9VQYQsELTVdbiUYu8pfilAgmCEACIU_qE_Dgsr6jEqo#Echobox=1555411747


NEWS STORY: Wild robots could replace vanishing species, says Robotanica curator, 17.11.17

Robots could be released into the countryside to help restore damaged ecosystems, according to the curator of an exhibition held at Dutch Design Week last month.

Arjen Bangma, who curated the Robotanica exhibition in Eindhoven, said that artificial creatures and intelligent devices could step in to take the place of extinct species.

"Mankind has damaged nature and we're looking at art and design projects to restore ecological systems," said Bangma, who is director of cultural organisation Transnatural.

"The show is about robotics within nature," he added. "It's about how robots can serve nature in a positive way."

https://www.dezeen.com/2017/11/16/robotanica-exhibition-robots-good-design-bad-world-dutch-design-week-arjen-bangma-curator/

BIOBOTS.jpg

Reference: “Bacteria That Can Conduct Electricity Could Be Key To Making Very Small Batteries” 06.04.19, Tech Times

In a recent study at UVA, a group of researchers has discovered the process of how soil-living bacteria can conduct electricity.

This particular discovery can pave the way for miniaturizing electronic devices such as making nano-sized batteries, and other relevant medical breakthroughs.

It was previously believed by scientists that this particular bacteria called Geobacter sulfurreducens conduct electricity through their hair-like protuberance called pili. But with the work of Dr. Edward H. Egelman, Ph.D, and his other co-authors, they've managed to deduce that this type of bacteria actually channel electricity through a coherent network of fibers made from a type of protein they've never seen before.

These fibers are around the fringe of a core with molecules that contain metal. The process is similar to an electrical cord that contains metallic wires. Although in the case of Geobacter sulfurreducens, these wires are 100,000 smaller than a human hair and are naked from the human eye.

"The technology to understand nanowires didn't exist until about five years ago, when advances in cryo-electron microscopy allowed high resolution," says Egelman of UVA.

"We have one of these instruments here at UVA, and, therefore, the ability to actually understand at the atomic level the structure of these filaments. ... So this is just one of the many mysteries that we've now been able to solve using this technology, like the virus that can survive in boiling acid, and there will be others."

https://www.techtimes.com/articles/240953/20190406/bacteria-that-can-conduct-electricity-could-be-key-to-making-very-small-batteries.htm

Radioactive waste-eating bacteria could be the answer to making nano-sized batteries. Researchers from the University of Virginia have discovered how the Geobacter sulfurreducens conduct electricity.  ( Edward H. Egelman | University of Virginia )

Radioactive waste-eating bacteria could be the answer to making nano-sized batteries. Researchers from the University of Virginia have discovered how the Geobacter sulfurreducens conduct electricity.  ( Edward H. Egelman | University of Virginia )

Becky Lyon