The proton transistor could finally give us perfect machine-human interfaces

One of the barriers that stops us from plugging computers into our brains and replacing our eyeballs with cameras is the fact that biological systems and electronics use different control systems. Electronics use electrons and living creatures use either protons or ions. Because of this, our cyborg dreams are a bit further off than we would hope.

But here comes science to the rescue! Researchers are proposing a "polysaccharide bioprotonic field-effect transistor" — a proton based transistor for communicating between the two systems.


This research is still in an extremely early stage, but the prototype does something incredibly important: it sends protons in a manner analogous to an electronic current.

The device is 5 microns wide, and made of chitosan, a material gathered from discarded squid pens and crab shells, which is both easily accepted by biological systems and simple to manufacture.

While it's not quite at the stage where it can electronically read or control biological systems, this device is a major step along the way. It's a biocompatible solid-state device, and marks the beginnings of the field of bionanoprotonics.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter