Two new nano-bio breakthroughs give us hope that our shining nanotech future could be closer than we think. One researcher harnessed the power of crazed hamsters, while another one has perfected ambidextrous DNA-based nano-machines.

I totally love the video, above, of the hamster hooked up to the nanowire, generating enough power to drive some nano-devices. If you attached four nanowires to the plucky critter, you'd have 200 millivolts, and you'd be in business. I'm picturing a whole program of bagging and tagging, with nanowires being attached to tons of forest creatures to provide a power source for devices that bag and tag other forest creatures. The ultimate perpetual motion machine!

Illustration for article titled Hamsters And Teeny Factory Workers Show Us Our Nanotech Future

Meanwhile, the Christian Science Monitor has an interview with Nadrian Seeman, a New York University professor who may be the "Henry Ford of nanotechnology." Seeman talks about his struggle to create cheap, easily replicated nanomachines out of DNA, with two arms and error correction on the fly:

Illustration for article titled Hamsters And Teeny Factory Workers Show Us Our Nanotech Future

Seeman has been working on nanorobotics for several years. He first perfected a one-armed version in 2006. It was the first time anyone had put together such a device in a DNA array, he says.

Now, that he's pulled off a two-arm design, Seeman says that his team can finally build things.

The big leap in Seeman's work is the ability to "remote control" the DNA arms, says Milan Stojanovic, a professor of medicine at Columbia University and director of the National Science Foundation's Center for Molecular Cybernetics. Finally, his team can set up a protocol to fix errors along the way.


Seeman says he got inspiration from an M.C. Escher print to think about ways to create nanomachines from DNA rather than from inorganic materials, which was the standard back in the 1980s.

[Wired and Christian Science Monitor]

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