Organs-On-Chips, a technology that mimics the functions of human organs, was named Design of The Year 2015 by the London Design Museum, beating even Google Inc’s remarkable self-driving cars.
The invention is basically a small chip that’s been lined with human cells, and designed to imitate the way that human organs and tissue structures behave. Some are calling the world’s first cyborg, but many more are simply calling it an invention that’s going to revolutionize the medical community.
Designed by Dan Dongeun Huh and Donald Ingber from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute, Organs-On-Chips has the potential to end vivisections and animal trials for both drugs and cosmetic products, and to aid in the development of tailor-made cures for specific individual.
Many scientists have long expressed a desire to find an alternative to animal testing. On top hurting animals, Tony Bahinski, lead senior scientist over at the Wyss Institute, gave a statement informing that animal trials aren’t even very productive and that they’ve made it hard for new drugs ti get to patients.
The invention can mimic everything from hearts, to lungs, to livers, and 13 other organs so far, but the duo plan on expanding on that number. These chips can be used to test how many different organs would respond if a person were to be treated with a specific drug.
Deyan Sudjic, Design Museum director, gave a statement praising the duo behind the chip: “The team of scientists that produced this remarkable object don’t come from a conventional design background. But what they have done is clearly a brilliant piece of design”.
He went on to stress that Ingber and Dongeun have managed to identify a serious issue referring to how the scientific community can predict how human cells are going to behave. They managed to answer that question with elegance, and even more importantly economy of means, by taking technology from seemingly unrelated fields and putting it to work new and innovative ways.
He also called the invention something beautiful to look at and said that a lay man might think off as the essence of life.
Paola Antonelli, the MOMA senior curator of design and architecture is the person who put the project forward for the award, and he gave a statement of his own, saying that Organs-On-Chips is “the epitome of design innovation”. He agrees with Sudjic that the invention has an elegant and beautiful form, but he adds that it also has pioneering application and that it was based on an arresting concept.
Design wise, Organs-On-Chips is roughly the size of a small memory stick, and mostly transparent, with the only exceptions being two (2) colour-coded connections.
Organs-On-Chips is almost as old as the prestigious award, as the chip took seven (7) years of research to make, while the London Design Museum Awards was started eight (8) years ago.
And this is the first time since the inception of the awards that an invention from the field of medicine has beat up all the ones in graphics, digital, fashion, architecture and transport.
Image Source: harvard.edu