Harvard scientists have created a microchips that can mimic the function of a human lung well enough to test new experimental, life-saving drugs. This has the potential of removing the harrowing risk of drug trials on humans and animals.
About the size of a USB memory stick these devices consist of small channels made through microchip fabrication techniques, a manufactured membrane layer, and a set of living human cells, both lung and capillary. These create the accurate atmosphere of the lungs; although to emulate the movement, vacuum channels surround these inner workings to create a rythmic inflation/deflation of the human cells within.
Of course, they look nothing like replicated organs; but the technology is capable of replicating the processes that the aforementioned organs go through. DARPA have invested $37 million into the project, to enable the Harvard researchers in their quest to make 10 of these chips (to recreate different organs in the body). I look forward to seeing just what comes out of this.
Source: WYSS Institute