Technology is an integral part of our contemporary, connected world: The separation between the human and the machine is shrinking more and more, social media dominates human interaction, and devices are becoming more compact, more integrated with living tissues and the environment, and more capable of complex computation. New materials are bringing computing, sensing, and imaging to the skin and the insides of humans. Data are pervasive and rich in emergent information of diagnostic, social, and logistical importance that allows us to see the invisible, access and transfer information globally, and connect like we never have before. The internet of things and the internet of people are becoming one.
The recent success of the “maker movement” is limited largely to materials, is non-sustainable, and is mostly incompatible with the life sciences--arguably contributing more to the depletion of natural resources than to supporting a sustainable approach. The movement has generated approaches generate “traditional” material forms that lack in advanced functions (i.e., forms that do not promote self-healing, do not have a low carbon footprint, and are not implantable, environmentally interactive, edible, compostable).
The Laboratory for Living Devices (L2D) is a one-of-a-kind, multi-disciplinary research initiative at Tufts University that is a ‘materials-first’ environment involving world leaders in materials science, chemistry and environmental sciences, biology and biomedical engineering, human health, and the arts. This initiative will enable Tufts researchers to develop tools, devices, and approaches to reduce the separation between the technological and biological worlds, thereby redefining new formats for technology, medicine, diagnostics, personalized health, arts, and education.