Tanya Lewis, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 20 June 2013 Time: 05:41 PM ET

silicon biolelectronics
A new coating protects silicon circuits from a fluid that mimics human body chemistry.
CREDIT: Photo courtesy of Ohio State University.

Electronics and bodily fluids don’t mix well. But new technology enables electronic devices to function in direct contact with tissues inside the body. The technology could allow scientists to make sensors that detect the early stages of organ transplant rejection, or create artificial nerves, researchers say.

Of course, many electronic devices already reside in the body — pacemakers, for example. But their electronics don’t come in direct contact with bodily fluids because they are enclosed in hermetically sealed stainless steel and sprayed with chemicals that inhibit the body’s immune response (which would otherwise reject them).

“What we’re doing here is [developing] electronics working in concert with the body,” study researcher Paul Berger, an electrical and computer engineer at Ohio State University in Columbus, told LiveScience. One of these is a protein sensor that “could be a sort of canary in a coal mine for transplant rejection,” Berger said. [5 Crazy Technologies That Are Revolutionizing Biotech]

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