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back to article RISE of the LIVING CHAIR: Boffins recruit E coli to build futuristic materials

In a few years your furniture could be made of a living material, according to a team of MIT boffins who have worked out how to get bacteria to help them manufacture items. The breakthrough was announced on Sunday in the Synthesis and patterning of tunable multiscale materials with engineered cells academic paper published in …

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Anonymous Coward

Tomorrow's World my arse!

"In a few years your chair could be made of a living material"

My chair is already infused with a rich soup of methane, hydrogen sulphide and living E.Coli, in fact I suspect that the original seat padding material has already rotted away (much in the manner of a pair of farted-out underpants), leaving only my aromatic bottom burp residues holding the thing together.

Quite why MIT want to add more E.Coli to this brew I can't really tell, but I suppose if you're getting a research grant for lighting farts then you've got to hold out some hope to "investors".

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Tomorrow's World my arse!

You owe me a new Keyboard..... Have a Beer on me!!

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Go

Re: Tomorrow's World my arse!

TFA said

> to program cellular systems to make new materials from the bottom up

Ha, I see what you did, there!

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re. Living Chairs

It's been done many times. e.g:

http://inhabitat.com/pooktre%E2%80%99s-living-growing-tree-chair/

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One small step for slime

Once the chair relieves the stress points in your bum and you snooze off, the chair arms encircle you and the gold nano wire snakes up your neck and burrows into your spinal cord and you are a part of THE MATRIX. No need for light sensitive growth. The slime will now have human batteries so there's no need to worry about cloudy days.

Has anybody checked the MIT boffins for such attachments yet? Are the boffins "programming" the slime or is the slime already "programming" them to accomplish its domination of the world?

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Not the same because they're made of killed fungus, but

still interesting - http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2013/01/moulding-fungal-furniture.html

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Where's the LiveSkin™?

I'm still waiting for the living clothes Sci-Fi promised me decades ago, that can survive off my sweat and shed skin cells and keep me clean and non-smelly, that'll self-repair any small tears or rips, and for what part they aren't self-cleaning I can just rinse them off while wearing them with the rain or the lawn sprinklers.

Sure, the first generations will fit and look like latex. That a problem?

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Coat

Re: Where's the LiveSkin™?

Um, we already have that. It's called 'skin.'

Feeds itself, repairs itself, easy to clean. And for the "smelly" part, consider how you'd smell without your skin.

Now, a live coat that turns into a flying suit...

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Re: Where's the LiveSkin™?

" and keep me clean and non-smelly..."

Where's the fun in that? Sounds like those de-odourising underpants, 4K tellies, and other technological solutions invented by the clever-but-misguided, and now searching for a problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Where's the LiveSkin™?

> and keep me clean and non-smelly

How are you going to be able to find an IT job then?

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Extended application

Why stop at simulating chairs? What about simulating chair-warmers too? Specifically bureaucrats? The benefits are many: No salary, better listener, more efficiency, less ugly. What's not to love?

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Red Dwarf

One of the books (not TV AFAIK) had quite a bit about living-furniature GELFs, and the equal-rights movement surrounding them.

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Re: Red Dwarf

Yup, Red Dwarf was the first thing I thought of when I read this...

The Voter Colonel says: Vote YES for 10 glorious more years of facist backed genetic slavery.

Or else we'll send the SnugGiraffe round to give a speech.

(FYI : The Snuggiraffe was a Gelf with the legs of a giraffe, the body of a slug, the head of a cobra and the overall appearance of being soaked in mucus. It had been designed to eat human waste and excrete smokeless fuel.) See 'Last Human' by Doug Naylor.

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"Imagine having a chair where you sit on it for a long time...

" and it remodels to support areas of stress."

Sounds like the Chairdogs from Frank Herbert's "Heretics of Dune"

"I hate it when they try to cuddle me" - Reverend Mother Odrade.

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Re: "Imagine having a chair where you sit on it for a long time...

Which reminds me,

The Reverend Mothers had a really sensible approach to governmental oversight. 'Watch Mothers' observed the Mother Superior all the time and noted her behaviour as well as decisions 24/7 (or whatever plaentary rotation time applies).

We could really do with more watch-eyes pointed at our decision-makers (since they are so keen on recording our every movement for future use, it's obvious they need careful watching for the inevitable other signs of delusion and meglomania).

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Re: "Imagine having a chair where you sit on it for a long time...

Sounds like the Chairdogs from Frank Herbert's "Heretics of Dune"

I was thinking the same, but from The Dosadi Experiment, as I never got past the third Dune novel. I don't think chairdogs appeared in the first few Dune books, but I may have missed or forgotten them.

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Re: "Imagine having a chair where you sit on it for a long time...

We could really do with more watch-eyes pointed at our decision-makers (since they are so keen on recording our every movement for future use, it's obvious they need careful watching for the inevitable other signs of delusion and meglomania).

Trouble was, people already saw a problem with that approach, thus the question, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" (or "Who watches the watchers?"). For anyone set as a watcher, who watches her, and then you have to wonder who watches that watcher and so on.

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Anonymous Coward

they want you DEAD

Don't you think these viruses will be used to create a zombie population of humans as justification to wipe out the larger population of humans?

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Since its E. coli, wouldn't a stool be more appropriate?

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be afraid

if they add this stuff to the water or food supply.

[the next thing you know, you'll be trying to shit a sofa]

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Terminator

Re: be afraid

> the next thing you know, you'll be trying to shit a sofa

This gives a new twist to the phrase "shitting bricks".

On a more serious note, has anyone stopped to consider the ramifications of mucking around with bacteria that can survive in and infect a human host? I have this vision of the world ending not with a bang, nor with a whimper, but with a "Bio-Ikea Grand Opening!" advert on the telly...

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Re: be afraid, re: safety.

Yes, people have, at length. Mucking about with bacteria is inherently dangerous, even with non- pathogenic beasties, and there's many protocols in place to ensure safety and reduce the risk of contamination into the "wild population" to a minimum. More so for pathogens even.

That being said, there's no safeguard against undiluted stupidity, so you can never be entirely sure. But the chance of a nutrient-dependent bacterium surviving an overnight autoclave session and then surviving in the wild is ...well... pretty slim.

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Re: be afraid

As long as it's a sectional couch it shouldn't be too bad.

A double pull-out on the other hand...

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Unhappy

Re: be afraid

"[the next thing you know, you'll be trying to shit a sofa]"

Like El Reg readers have never had that experience before.

Late nights. Oversized dodgy takeaway. You get the picture.

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Re: Like El Reg readers have never had that experience before.

Sugar Free Gummi Bears

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Mushroom

Re: Like El Reg readers have never had that experience before.

>Sugar Free Gummi Bears

.. have the opposite effect on me. Like most sugar-free stuff :-(

Which is unfortunate with my newly-aquired sugar intolerance.

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replicators

looks like an early version of replicators. this shit will go so wrong - for humans :)

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Enough Gold, what about bitcoin quaffing bacteria?

Call it E coli Mtgoxia for its ability to snag bitcoins from your wallet seated on the couch.

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Staggering.

This might actually be the first step toward proper nanotechnology on the Drexler model.

Thumbs up, but of of course it is V 0.1 tech.

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Did no-one else think of...

1. The Master's furniture line in Terror of the Autons

2. The mattresses on the Vogon spaceship in H2GT2G

I think I'll stay standing.

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Re: Did no-one else think of...

"The Master's furniture line in Terror of the Autons"

You beat me to it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXrAK6sUZ_0

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IKEA - this time it's personal.

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"I'm afraid you'll have to eat two more servings of the meatballs if you want the ottoman as well, sir."

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Anonymous Coward

Rise of the Furniture

"Imagine having a chair where you sit on it for a long time and it remodels to support areas of stress."

Or waking up to your chair slowly digesting you

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Re: Rise of the Furniture

That assumes that the chair hasn't already injected you with some sort of poison that paralyses you and slowly dissolves your innards.

Something to think about when you go to bed tonight - sleep tight...!

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So what do I do when my sofa eats my coffee table?

See title.

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It is good to know that e coli is good for things other than plants (as fertilizer since ancient times).....

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Coat

Warning to those new on the employment market

The bosses may tell you it's biotech, but it's really just another crap factory job.

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The real "nano-tech."

My daughter wanted to major in biochemistry and genetics. I heartily approved. Once she got to university however, she changed her major to computer science. We argued over it, of course. I pointed out to her that all the truly difficult work had been done in computer science, and that the next big thing was in the field she had first set out to master. I knew that there would be more to genetic engineering than better medicines and improved crops. I believd it then and I still believe it. This is your real nano-tech, boys and girls. Make no mistake about it.

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Happy

Re: The real "nano-tech."

"My daughter wanted to major in biochemistry and genetics. I heartily approved. Once she got to university however, she changed her major to computer science. We argued over it, of course. I pointed out to her that all the truly difficult work had been done in computer science, and that the next big thing was in the field she had first set out to master. "

Yay.

Go hogs

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