30 Oct '16, 1pm

A Cigarette-Smoking Robot for Better Lung Disease Research

For the good of humanity and medical research, Harvard scientists have invented a robot that smokes cigarettes. Well, calling it a robot may be a bit of a stretch—it’s more of a lab instrument. But the device does puff on up to 10 cigarettes at a time, taking in the smoke and channeling it to a tiny chip lined with living cells from human lungs. This “lung-on-a-chip” can be used to study how lung cells react to smoke, in intimate detail and with a level of verisimilitude that animal studies can’t match. The invention, announced yesterday by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, can be used for research on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD ), the lung condition that includes both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. People with COPD find it harder and harder to breathe because the tiny airways in their lungs are damaged, typically from years of ci...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/bionics/...

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