New research tells that glowing living gloves could prove a wonderful substitute to the “CSI” in future in order to sense certain substances found in the places where the crime had been committed.

The gloves are made of a living material that is lighted up in reaction with certain chemicals. This new living material is described as hydrogel with programmed bacteria by new research teams. The cells use fluorescence to light up through reprogramming when contacting with various chemicals.

Glowing, Living Gloves Could Aid Crime-Scene Analysis
Glowing, Living Gloves Could Aid Crime-Scene Analysis

According to the researchers, the living material can aid crime-scene investigations, pollution monitors, medical diagnostics and others.

Timothy Lu, a team professor of biological engineering at MIT and research co-author, said,

With this design, people can put different types of bacteria in these devices to indicate toxin in the environment, or disease on the skin. We’re demonstrating the potential for living materials and devices.

The chief challenge in organizing the cells in a functioning device for the researchers is the maintenance of these living cells.

To attain a lot for his e-Coli bacteria cells, Lu collaborated with Xuanhe Zhao, mechanical and environmental engineering at MIT and an associate professor of civil. Zhao and his fellows had researched over various hydrogel formulations, and the current iteration by them presented a stable environment to the bioengineered bacteria cells. The hydrogel is around 95% water, free of crack when pulled or stretched and able to be fused to a coating of rubber meanwhile still absorbing oxygen.

The research team is also testing a glove having fingertips that give light in reaction to the contact of various chemicals. The tests are triumphs to a higher extent.

The researchers have also made a theoretical model for future research on living substance as a guide for future researchers.

Zhao said,

The model helps us to design living devices more efficiently.


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