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Koniku, a synthetic biotechnology company, is building a neuron-silicon hybrid chip that can “smell.” Its devices combine synthetic biology with silicon to map, in its words, “all organic compounds that touch human life.” To do this, Koniku engineers proteins in biological neurons to create precise protein particle interactions. These reprogrammed biological cells can then function as sensors, which are able to identify scents. Koniku’s current customers are largely interested in defense applications—such as, potentially, sniffing out volatile substances and explosives—but the company has also signed a contract with pharma giant AstraZeneca.

Chips that can perceive sensory data

KEY TRENDS

Biological Process Identification and Modelling