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Author Topic: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard  (Read 2521 times)

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Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« on: June 14, 2011, 05:51:41 PM »
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/06/living-laser-genetics/


Hurry up already, I want to shoot laser beams out of my eyes!

Offline Shjade


Offline NotoriusBEN

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2011, 09:51:09 PM »
I can settle with this for the time being...

Sharks with lazers on their heads - Austin Powers - Goldmember

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2011, 11:53:35 PM »
Wow, GFP is GFP. *yawns* I am really getting sick of the media portraying things the biology community has known about for years as important just because the media discovered them yesterday.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2011, 09:30:29 AM »
GFP is old news, yeah - everyone's heard of and are bored with biologists who make animals glow in the dark. Using GFP to project/emit a directional light beam instead of a steady glow, though...is that also something biologists have been doing for years that no one ever realized?

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2011, 07:06:22 PM »
Yeah, we have known for a while that if you put a source of optical gain within an optical cavity you get a laser. That's essentially what 'laser' means: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. What does a fluorescent protein do again? Produce EM radiation (photons) when stimulated.

You did read the article, right? It's not like the cells are just shooting out beams on their own. They have to be placed in a particular optical cavity between two mirrors. The same optical cavity that anything with similar physical properties can be placed in to form a laser. Only once you have that optical cavity somehow built into the cell do you have a 'living laser'.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2011, 07:11:51 PM »
Yeah, we have known for a while that if you put a source of optical gain within an optical cavity you get a laser. That's essentially what 'laser' means: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. What does a fluorescent protein do again? Produce EM radiation (photons) when stimulated.

You did read the article, right? It's not like the cells are just shooting out beams on their own. They have to be placed in a particular optical cavity between two mirrors. The same optical cavity that anything with similar physical properties can be placed in to form a laser. Only once you have that optical cavity somehow built into the cell do you have a 'living laser'.

Yeah, and according to the article, this is the first time they've managed to produce a laser beam using biological, non-synthetic material as that optical cavity/gain medium. Wired.com is a geek news site, it's supposed to be more of a 'hey, this is nifty, check out what fellow geeks have done' article as opposed to the attention-grabbing nonsense mainstream media spouts.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2011, 09:59:30 PM »
Yeah, and according to the article, this is the first time they've managed to produce a laser beam using biological, non-synthetic material as that optical cavity/gain medium. Wired.com is a geek news site, it's supposed to be more of a 'hey, this is nifty, check out what fellow geeks have done' article as opposed to the attention-grabbing nonsense mainstream media spouts.

I am totally aware of what Wired is supposed to be. Doesn't change the fact that it fails. :P

This article tells us that fluorophores function as fluorophores and that lasers function as lasers. And as for attention grabbing nonsense: The term 'living laser' is complete nonsense on its own. And that bit at the end about lasing from within the body? So much rampant bs based on nothing. Wired has written a pithy piece that pretends something is more than it is and ignores the real-world implications in favor of groundless speculation. I remain unimpressed.

It is definitely not as bad as some media outlets, but don't mistake Wired for a publication with scientific rigor.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2011, 10:14:14 PM »
Did you miss that they called that out themselves, saying it's a "long way off', "possibility", "someday"? Lots of weasel words. The relevant, immediate value is the bit about projecting light through cells to study their interiors. Not being a biologist, I have no idea if that's good news or not, but they devote as much text to that as they do the light-projecting cells, and note that it has immediate applications.

Offline Sabby

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2011, 03:04:25 AM »
This thread makes my headmeats sizzle .__.

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Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2011, 09:20:04 AM »
"but the light could be easily detected and carried useful information on the properties of the cell."

Out of all the applications to this article and there are a lot, it's cool that the cell's shape naturally focused the light. And I find it fascinating that it could be easily detected and the beam carried information.

I wonder about this on several levels, but the simplest I could come up with is: did they just make a neuron signal from the cell appear as light?
I haven't been in biology in quite a while and I feel lazy at the idea of looking online, anyone with biology knowledge? do all cells send neurons or some  sort of signals, or only nerves typically?

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Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2011, 01:56:02 PM »
Neuron is just another word for nerve cell, but to answer the underlying question:  Anything that involves hormones is a form of intercellular communication.  Rising glucose levels cause the pancreas to release insulin, which allows ('tells') cells in other parts of the body to absorb and metabolize the glucose. 

Offline Zakharra

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2011, 11:23:48 AM »
Neuron is just another word for nerve cell, but to answer the underlying question:  Anything that involves hormones is a form of intercellular communication.  Rising glucose levels cause the pancreas to release insulin, which allows ('tells') cells in other parts of the body to absorb and metabolize the glucose.

 It just might because it's still morning and I haven't had any breakfast yet, but the first thought that came to mind when I heard that was, a 'laser' beam that makes people super horny when it hits them.  The 'Horny-Beam' 'The Orgasma-tron'

 >_<   XD

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Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2011, 11:50:37 AM »
Been watching Barbarella recently?  XD

Offline Zakharra

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2011, 12:01:55 PM »
I've heard of that movie, but I've never seen it.

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Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2011, 12:13:11 PM »
Ah.  Well, you can find most of the good bits on YouTube.  There's a scene in it involving a machine called the orgasmatron, which is supposed to pleasure Barbarella to death.

She overloads it.

Offline tozhma

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2011, 07:27:31 AM »
While I'm often kind of critical of Wired and other more 'pop' scientific mags and articles, I still enjoy letting my imagination run free with ideas like these. Perhaps this is an unreal application of the technology, but I'd love to see a dance club one day, where there are no lights, just people projecting lasers, strobes, and faint glows, from their modified skin.

Offline Jacqueline

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2011, 02:56:37 PM »
Or... another application could be for the next generation of lullaby gloworms.

Offline Caliphas

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2011, 12:11:35 PM »
"Thereís also the possibility, albeit one thatís a long way off, that doctors could one day make laser beams inside a patientís body, to lase hazardous or cancerous tissue from deep inside the body, rather than firing a laser from outside the skin."

RoboCop meets The Fantastic Journey?

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Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2011, 07:00:43 PM »
I think there's already something that they do that can 'target' cancer cells through healthy cells (without damaging the latter) on the basis of differences in density or some-such.

Ah - here we go.  It's a method that can target to specific depths, without having as much effect on cells outside the target region:

https://www.gsi.de/portrait/Broschueren/Therapie/krebszellen_e.html

(Despite the appearance of the link, the article is in reasonably simple English.)

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2011, 07:05:56 PM »
Killing cancer with ion cannons is the coolest thing I've read all week, or all last week.

Offline Jacqueline

Re: 'Living Lasers' designed at Harvard
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2011, 05:24:18 AM »
With this Ion cannon?

C&C 3 Tiberium Bomb cutscene