It looks almost...alive!

An innovation in synthetic biology by students at UC San Francisco, has lead to development of 'living' photographs that are up to 100 mega pixels per square inch each.

Synthesising their own light sensitive bacteria, Chris Voigt's team of graduate students have enticed bacteria to grow into the formation of captured images. By projecting light on to an agar dish, the light sensitive bacteria are encouraged to grow wherever the light falls.

This can be thought of like a display panel, although instead of millions of pixels, instead the image is formed of billions of bacteria which release a black pigment. Only the bacteria which were cultivated by the projected light release the pigment. The result is spectacularly high resolution images, 10 times better than the images produced by the highest resolution printers available today.

So look out for bacteria printers this Christmas, coming soon to a petri dish near you.

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Ankur Badhwar

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