In Massachusetts, scientists are putting working tiny models of organs, like livers and lungs, on tiny chips for human biology research. Looking more like computer parts, the chips help researchers model disease and test drugs without having to conduct any animal testing. The thumb drive size devices mimic an array of organs and scientists can use them to study things like inflammation or response to certain drugs that the pharmaceutical industry can use in place of animal testing.
They use a combination of human cells and mechanical technology to have the chips act like a real organ. One recent test was done on a model lung device to study the effects of smoking, asthma, and chronic pulmonary disease.