DNA-based 'robotic' assembly begins

Behold The First Nanobot Assembly Line In Action

John Faith brings to our attention a writeup by Annalee Newitz over at io9.com which colorfully describes a new achievement by Foresight Feynman prizewinner Nadrian Seeman and team at NYU and Nanjing U.:

Today in Nature, a group of researchers announced they’d successfully operated the first assembly line populated entirely by nanobots. The bots in question are molecular machines made from strands of DNA, and each one has four “feet” that walk on a specially-prepared surface covered in chemicals that direct the bot’s motion. It also has three “arms” to carry cargo – in this case various sizes of gold particles. These gold particles can bind together into eight different products.

In their experiment, the scientists succeeded in guiding a nanobot to pick up the three gold particles, each held by other bots. It walked up to each bot, grabbed the gold cargo, and moved on to the next bot to do the same thing.

Technology Review also covers the news:

“We show how to program [the walker’s] behavior by programming the landscape,” says Milan Stojanovic, a biomedical engineer at Columbia University who developed the walker. “It enables us to think about adding further complexity: more than one molecule interacting and more complicated commands on the surface. What we hope to do eventually is to be able to [use nanobots to] repair tissues.”

See the original article in Nature.  Exciting times to come — bring it on!  —Chris Peterson

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