“Bacteria can be persuaded to produce wire-like appendages that conduct electricity,” New Scientist reports. These wires are shown in the image, above: a bio-geometrical tangle.
“A deficit of metal atoms in the close vicinity of the bacteria can cause a bottleneck,” we read, “so the proliferation of nanowires allows the bacteria to consume more fuel.” In other words, the bacteria can use these metal atoms as structural parts of their own “bodies,” as they interact with and metabolize the immediate environment – in which case, does this constitute a kind of living metal? That simultaneously doubles as an electrical appliance?
“Now a study by Yuri Gorby of Pacific Northwest National Laboratories in Washington State, US and colleagues reveals that several other kinds of bacteria produce similar nanowires.” And in ten years’ time, your own dear son will start sprouting extension cords… You can plug Hoovers into him.
Meanwhile, Gorby studies something called biogeochemistry.
So will the electrical network installed in the walls of your house become a living thing someday, an organism of light and electricity, made of wires, prone to growing so you have to prune it back on Saturdays, a new chore – electro-topiary? Or you’ll grow whole gardens of the electrically self-modified, vines and ivy coiling through the undergrowth, lit up like Christmas lights, shining.