The Internet of Biology
In biological science, the 20th century focused on simple tests such as ELISA or lateral flow assays. After the human genome was sequenced and genomics had a major breakthrough in the first 20 years of the 21st century, we're now facing the next wave of innovation in and around biology: The opportunity to understand and communicate with the immense information density available to us in biology. The embrace of complex, real-time data, available via convenient and compact electronic devices, and converted into human understandable information via cloud computing can be conceived of as “the internet of biology”.
Intro to IoB
Entering an inflection point in medical and biological science
The world is entering an inflection point in medical and biological science with the simultaneous emergence of improved integration of biology with electronics, advanced software tools, plentiful computational resources, and increased expectations for quality healthcare worldwide. Organizations like the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE and Gates Foundation have pushed for integrations of varied technologies in clinical tests to demonstrate potential application. Traditional healthcare companies market point-of-care tools with limited test libraries. In each case, complex, analyte-specific reagents and intricate protocols create a need for multiple platforms and deep biochemical or clinical expertise to replicate the capability of a central lab.
Amplification-free DNA detection
There is a need for information-dense tools that break the mold of expensive labs running colorimetric and PCR based assays. Label-free measurement tools based on field-effect sensors remove the need for most liquid reagents, decrease power requirements, and shrink the size of handheld testing devices. These tools will be capable of communicating with biology using a wide variety of chemical and biochemical pathways.
Biology is the most advanced technology
Biology forms sets of complex and interconnected networks that topologically look similar to the kinds of computer networks we’re used to seeing. The energy transferred and information exchanged in biological networks is staggeringly large.
A simple E. coli bacteria has computational power of at least 100 million operations per second and contains at least 4 MB of information. A single colony of E coli might have billions of individual cells networked together, all in a few cubic millimeters.
The age of
The Internet of Biology
This emphasizes that nature and biology is by far the most advanced technology on our planet. Even with all the major medical and technological breakthroughs in the last century, we still only understand a fraction of what's going on inside of biology. However, that's about to change drastically, because now in the age of Internet of Biology we're capable of communicating in realtime with the biological signals, finally giving us a chance to understand what's really going on.
The vision of the Internet of Biology is inspired by the 2018 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, Frances H. Arnold, who in her acceptance speak for the Nobel prize, said the following...