Bioelectronics uses biological materials or architectures to design and build computers and related devices, specifically at the scale of DNA or molecules. Molecular or chemical reactions are triggered that can be used to store, retrieve or process data or give instructions to living cells. By using DNA, reactions can be monitored within a single cell. Biochips on the other hand can manipulate chemical reactions in many cells and are able to perform parallel computing tasks. DNA Memory (wetware) is a promising technology for storing data (in a lab or in a body) since it’s millions of times more compact and stable than traditional memory storage. Molecular recorders capture and store data in living cells in real-time, for example to record a certain ‘disease event’ in the body. The data can be retrieved with DNA sequencing.
It aims at developing tools for mapping and understanding data regarding biological organisms, for example to identify the role of a gene or nucleotide in an organism. Research directions are biohybrid machines and materials, in which biological and artificial components are merged. Thus, a polymer can become a bacterial sensor or a robot can use an organic muscle for more subtle movement.
Plant communication refers to communication between plants and other organisms. Plants have at least 20 different senses to monitor complex environmental conditions including humidity, gravity and electromagnetic fields. Plants can have complex social relations among themselves and other species and communicate e.g. by vibration or electrical signal. Current research attempts to turn plants into active sensors for chemical, biological or electromagnetic signals and change in color or size accordingly.