New Biosensors Allow Advanced Testing

Wednesday - 10/6/2010, 12:58pm EDT

Scientists have long imagined what could be done if they could engineer a cilia-like biosensor.

Now, scientists at the University of Southern Mississippi have for the first time, imitated Mother Nature by developing a skinny-molecule-based material that resembles the tiny, hair-like structures organisms use to smell, hear, and see. They've developed a new thin copolymer film with whisker-like formations that mimic the natural material.

It responds to thermal, chemical, and electromagnetic stimulation, and allows researchers to control it which, they say, opens unlimited possibilities, including testing for the presence of toxins, oxygen or the lack of oxygen in an environment. Future uses could include testing glucose levels, drug testing, or for air or water safety.