Summer Competition - UT Austin
The 2004 UT Austin team chose to design and build a biofilm that could perform distributed edge detection on a light-encoded image. In theory, each cell in a lawn of bacteria would update its state in response to light input and, depending on the state of neighboring cells, decide whether or not to change color.
An abstract, device-level depiction for part of the Texas system. A light-detection device (left) is connected to a colorimetric reporting device (right). Photons produce PoPS, a common carrier for gene expression, and PoPS produce color.
The [light to PoPS] device was built using a new light-receiver part, BBa_I15010, and BBa_R0082, a pre-existing BioBrick. BBa_I15010, the gift of Anselm Levskaya (Voigt Lab, UCSF), is an engineered two component signalling protein based on cph1 from Synechocystis. The [PoPS to color] device was built using three existing BioBricks.
Students at UT Austin used the image 'Hello World' to illuminate an approximately 10 cm square lawn of bacteria containing their initial system (the first picture encoded on their biofilm is shown here). A lawn of E. coli should be aboe to capture images at about a gigapixel per square inch. Photo: Jeff Tabor.