In the classic 1966 American science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, a submarine crew was miniaturized and injected into a body to fix a blood clot in the brain. That’s obviously not how future medical science is going to work, but the notion of creating microscopic machines to perform complex tasks is certainly on…
During the latter stages of the American Civil War, the H.L. Hunley made history by becoming the first combat submarine to sink an enemy ship. The Confederate crew never returned from its mission, sparking a mystery that’s lasted for over 130 years. An exhaustive new analysis suggests these pioneering submariners…
There’s a whole new way to build custom scientific instruments affordably in bioengineering: a system of 3D-printed building blocks that can link together in various combinations. The system combines design elements of both biological cells and electronic components, and it can evolve over time to adapt to the…
Last week, bioengineering’s most advanced prosthetics were shown off at the world’s largest orthopedics event in Germany. But in Afghanistan, things are a little different.
The burgeoning industry of biological design is in the headlines every day. Yet even science journalists have had trouble explaining concepts like CRISPR in terms that everyone can understand. A new exhibition at a Silicon Valley museum skillfully explains the technically and ethically complicated field of…
Most of us take the the subtle difference between rough and smooth beneath our fingertips for granted. But a new device could allow amputees to rediscover the same sensation.
If the waterlily beetle were the size of a human, it would fly along the surface of a pond at 500 kilometers an hour. Then again, if a waterlily beetle were human, it wouldn’t fly at all. The beetle is subject to, and able to take advantage of, forces we don’t even notice—and when scientists did notice, they realized…
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the governmnet division that tries to take cutting-edge technology and turn it into something the military can use. The agency’s latest target? Genetic engineering.
Yeast is an incredible organism—you can thank it for booze!—and thanks to the marvels of modern genetics, we’ve made it incredibly versatile. Just a month after announcing a method for hacking yeast to produce narcotics, researchers just announced that the creation of yeast that produces THC and cannabidiols.
Yeast, that magical microorganism that provideth bread and beer, can now make narcotics, too. In a much-anticipated update, a team of scientists from Stanford University has engineered a strain of common brewer’s yeast to turn simple sugars into opioid drugs.
The need to mend broken hearts has never been greater. But what if we could simply manufacture a new one—an artificial heart that doesn’t beat?
Brian Bartlett lost his leg at 24. He now has one of the most famous prostheses in the world. Rose Eveleth meets the man who just wanted to ski again
We love to imagine how biotechnology might one day enhance our fleshy bodies, but too often, Earth’s wildlife are left out of the future entirely. Enter Kathryn Fleming’s future zoo, filled with a menagerie of fantastical, slightly disturbing, genetically modified mutants.
Green may be the Plant Kingdom’s color of choice, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, it takes only a little chemical tuning to turn chlorophyll—the light-absorbing pigment that colors plants green—blue, red, orange, or any other hue under the sun.
The waiting list for organ transplants is growing at an alarming rate while the number of potential organ donors has failed to keep pace. Encouragingly, scientists are working several high-tech solutions in the field of regenerative medicine. We spoke to the experts to learn how organ shortages will soon become a…
Inspired by full-sized mechanical parts like hinges and pistons, researchers at Ohio State University have designed pieces of DNA that could eventually be used to construct nano-scale robots.
The powerful painkiller morphine comes from opium poppies, which only grow in a few places around the world. But now, a group of bioengineers are on the cusp of creating a modified form of baker's yeast that can synthesize the drug. What happens when we can brew up heroin in a vat of yeast?
University of Illinois engineers just showed off a new kind of robot that's half animal, half machine. More specifically, it's a tiny "bio-bot" that's powered by actual muscle but supported by 3D-printed hydro-gels. And the best part is that it can be controlled by pulses of electricity.
Researchers in the UK have developed a technique to culture universal type-O blood from stem cells. It's the first time scientists have manufactured blood to the appropriate quality and safety standards for transfusion into a human being. It's a breakthrough that could eventually end blood shortages in emergencies.