What is the Role of Bacteria in the Internet of Things?

What is the Role of Bacteria in the Internet of Things?

By Enterprise Networking Mag | Friday, September 18, 2020

Scientists believe that a sensor utilized in Internet of Bio-Nano Things (IoBNT) effectively works due to the presence of certain kinds of bacteria.

FREMONT, CA: Scientists believe that biologically created computing devices will one day gain more considerable significance, like today’s microprocessors and microchips. DNA can be sited as an example, being a carrier of genetic information and the principal component of chromosomes; it also acts as a data storage medium. One of the recent studies explains about microbes that can be used to network and communicate at the nanoscale. For this reason, it can be utilized for the Internet of Things (IoT). The organic version of IoT includes the tiny size and autonomous nature leading to the inherent propelling characteristic of bacteria.

One of the scientists from Queen Mary University in London explains the swimming functions of microbes and highlights the presence of “an embedded, natural propeller motor.” Thus, the research into the Internet of Bio-Nano Things (IoBNT) is at an early stage.

Bacteria and computing share a few similarities that can be exploited in many ways. The microbes share similar characteristics with components of typical computer IoT devices, which affirm the capability of bacteria to be regarded as a living form of the Internet of Things (IoT) device. One perfect example would be environmental IoT, where microbes could be used. Microbes have good chemical sensing ability making it suitable to be programmed to sense pollutants. They work better than electronic sensors, while some scientists claim that the microbes share some of the same sensing, actuating, communicating, and processing like the computerized IoT.

When the microbes detect chemicals, electromagnetic fields, light, mechanical stress, and temperature, they respond accordingly, for example, produce colored proteins and is similar to a traditional printed circuit board-based sensor. The DNA mentioned above, when built into bacteria, functions as a control unit for processing and storing data. It can also be used to address the networking needs where the bacterial IoT also contains transceivers. Here, the importing and exporting of molecules act as a form of a signaling pathway, and a DNA exchange between two cells can take place. It forms a bacterial nanonetwork and is termed as “molecular communication.”

Currently, there are tools and techniques available in the market to run small-scale experiments with micro-organisms for the general public. Yet, there are huge benefits that can be derived from microbes and has to be explored.

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