For years, scientists have used software to predict the effectiveness of new drugs. More recently, however, some of those folks have added hardware to the process. They’ve created new, hybrid, bioelectric systems that gauge how well drugs affect various parts of the human body.
One of those projects has now been awarded the Design Museum’s Design of the Year award. As you can see above, it doesn’t replicate the entire human body, just specific organs, but the implications are clear. Not only do these “Organs on Chips” offer feedback more quickly and more cheaply than using lab animals, but since the chips are modeled on actual human organs rather than non-human body parts that have been tweaked to resemble human organs, they generate more accurate results, too.
This could be the beginning of the end for animal testing in medical labs, one of the most complicated scientific and moral issues facing the animal rights movement. I hope I’m not overselling it, but I’m very optimistic.