Harvard scientists grow human cells onto nanowire scaffold to form 'cyborg' skin

DNP Artificial skin

Growing human tissue is old hat, but being able to measure activity inside flesh is harder -- any electrical probing tends to damage the cells. But a new breakthrough from Harvard researchers has produced the first "cyborg" tissue, created by embedding functional, biocompatible nanowires into lab-grown flesh. In a process similar to making microchips, the wires and a surrounding organic mesh are etched onto a substrate, which is then dissolved, leaving a flexible mesh. Groups of those meshes are formed into a 3D shape, then seeded with cell cultures, which grow to fill in the lattice to create the final system. Scientists were able to detect signals from heart and nerve cell electro-flesh made this way, allowing them to measure changes in response to certain drugs. In the near-term, that could allow pharmaceutical researchers to better study drug interaction, and one day such tissue might be implanted in a live person, allowing treatment or diagnosis. So, would that make you a cyborg or just bionic? We'll let others sort that one out.