Chinese Scientists Use Bacteria to Develop Self-healing Fabric
Chinese scientists have developed a flexible, rapidly self-healing material supported by bacteria, which can be made into wearable devices that help control artificial limbs or exoskeletons.
The study, published on Wednesday in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, saw the researchers combine two kinds of engineering bacteria in specific proportions to make a hydrosol-like fabric.
Researchers from the Shenzhen institutes of advanced technology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences anchored an antigen fragment to the membrane of one bacterium, and an antibody fragment to the other.
The antigen and antibody fragments can adhere to each other, allowing the fabric to self-heal quickly when it is torn, according to the study.
Exploiting the fast recovery ability of the material, the research group created wearable sensors that can detect bioelectrical or biomechanical signals from the human body.
The study showed that the electrical conductivity of the tensile fabric remains stable through repeated stretching or bending, so it can catch electric signals from the muscles accurately and evaluate the wearer's motion intentions instantly.
The wearable devices based on the material can control artificial limbs or exoskeletons more effectively than traditional sensors, according to the study.
The scientists also engineered the bacteria with certain catalysts, making the material capable of degrading pesticides into low-toxicity chemicals. (Xinhua)