Alive gloves alert for toxic substances

University Researchers of 0f US MIT created ‘live’ gloves, which shine when touching toxic chemicals. Innovative gloves contain biological sensors, which are comprised of cells of microorganisms which live and feed inside a hydrogel film. The living material glove, i.e. the bacteria, can be changed at will, so that the gloves have a sensitivity to various chemicals environments.


Engineers and biologists, led by associate professor of biological engineering Timothy Lu, who made the notice published in the journal ‘PNAS’ that, except gloves, the same material can be used for “living” bandages. “One can put different kinds of bacteria in these devices to detect toxins in the environment or disease to the skin”, said Lu.┬áThe same research team previously had managed -through appropriate genetic tropopoiisis to make microorganisms glow when in contact with certain chemicals. Now, they went a step further and obtained that those living materials can be kept for long in gloves or bandages.The “key” is a new biocompatible hydrogel -a combination of water and an elastomeric material; that thanks to nutrients, allows the microorganisms to survive for several days outside the laboratory. The new material can be used in future environmental monitoring, medical diagnostics, in criminology etc. Besides gloves and bandages, the same material could be used to create shoe soles, even clothes that will shine as the chemical with which they come into contact.