UC Berkeley researchers took inspiration from a turkey's color-changing wattle to design a biosensor that detects toxins or pathogens. Turkey wattles change between blue and red as the blood vessels between the collagen fibers swell or contract. The researchers used benign viruses to self-assemble into collagen fiber-like structures that change colors as they expand and contract when exposed to chemicals like hexane, methanol, and even TNT.
“In our lab, we study how light is generated and changes in nature, and then we use what we learn to engineer novel devices,” said professor Seung-Wuk Lee who co-led the research.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.