Feeds

DNA-based nanobot takes a stroll

A great step forward

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Asimov would have been so proud: New York scientists have created a walking robot, just 10 nanometres long and made out of DNA. Alright, it needs a path made of DNA to walk along, but this is still amazing stuff.

The researchers are taking advantage of DNA chains' propensity to pair up. The legs are made of two strands wrapped together in a double helix, but at the end of each leg, there is a single strand they call a foot. By detatching and reattaching themselves to the footpath, the legs can move along.

The breakthrough has been hailed as a great step forward. Presumably the pun was intended.

In an interview with BBC Online Professor Nadrian Seeman of New York University said: "What we've done is to build a sidewalk to accommodate one step and we've demonstrated quantitatively that [the robot] can take a second step".

Most of the DNA path will not be compatible with the single-stranded foot, so by carefully ordering the sequence of base pairs in the DNA path, they are able to determine where each 'foot' would attach. Another strand tells the foot to let go, allowing the robot to take its step. ®

Related links

The full story is in New Scientist here.

Related stories

US puts on pair of robotrousers
Japanese unveil trumpet-playing robot
Humans struggle for supremacy in online robot wars

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.