from the random-walk dept.
New research indicates motor proteins inside cells may be able to harness the energy of Brownian motions — random motions caused by thermal energy ñ to move enzymes and other molecules along microtubules inside cells. In a paper published in the May issue of the journal Physical Review E, Georgia Institute of Technology physicist Ronald Fox argues that what appears to be a walk along the microtubule is really random motion cleverly constrained by chemical switching carried out by ATP. Fox believes his work may offer a new mechanism for generating motion in future nanometer-scale machines, in which thermal motion can be harnessed to do useful work.
Note: Some work has already been done to develop nanodevices that take advantage of Brownian motion. See this article on the Scientific American website for details.