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Where technology meets biology

Ronald Hanaki
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Stanford University’s Bio-X
initiative is bringing together teams of engineers and doctors to develop
the new technologies of tomorrow. Spurred by Netscape co-founder Jim Clark’s
$150 million donation, some of the projects include attaching a digital
camera to retinal cells enabling people to overcome blindness and human
tissue engineering. They estimate that they are 10 to 15 years away from
actually going into a stem cell and making it build an organ like a liver or
kidney. Future computers may even have more organic parts requiring “food”
to run them instead of electricity. HAL meets the Cookie Monster? Stanford’s
proximity to Silicon Valley facilitates this kind of interaction. A 350-seat
restaurant is being planned where researchers can discuss new ideas. This
type of interdisciplinary research is perhaps the hottest thing in
academics. Ah, to be young again.

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