Posted May 30th, 2012
Can we construct intelligent materials? That is one of the fundamental questions that my lab has been trying to address.
You might wonder what an intelligent material would look like and what it would do. And as you look at your computer screen, smart phone, or tablet to read this, you may think of the materials that enable the technology you are currently using. Indeed, the computer, phone, or tablet you are using contains materials that essentially “sense and respond” to you.
So that ability to “sense and respond” is what constitutes an intelligent material.
Using this definition as our goal, my lab recently developed a set of intelligent materials with a twist—the twist being that all the materials are made of proteins! So instead of the hardcore circuits, transistors, nuts, and bolts that you have in your mind as materials, I am talking about materials of the biological nature.