Feeds

Sperm-derived power system for nanobots patented

Emissions issue overcome by spunky boffins

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Cybernetics designers have long tended to copy successful anatomical features from living creatures. Now nano-robotics boffins are getting in on the act, seeking to make use of the process which drives sperm.

Apparently your regular sperm makes use of a process called "glycolysis" to generate energy with which to swim tremendously long distances (relative to its size). Brainboxes at Cornell University aim to replicate this process for use in powering "nanoscale robots".

"Our idea is not the final product but rather an energy-delivery system," said Alex Travis of the Cornell veterinary school. The research was presented on Monday at the American Society for Cell Biology's annual meeting.

It seems that sperm make use of ten different enzyme processes in the "fibrous sheath" that encases their tail to make glycolysis happen. Travis and his pals have cracked only three of these stages in a way that can be replicated on a chip, but they consider this to be "proof of principle".

Indeed, the Cornell researchers believe that miniscule spunk-drive robomachines could one day be widespread, and earn big money for their inventors. Potential uses would include the targeting of specific cells within a body - not unlike what sperm do normally, in fact.

Now the boffins just need someone to get in bed with them.

"We have a provisional patent, so if a company shows interest, we could work something out with them," said Travis.

Or, of course, the Cornell boffins could become owner-operators.

A tad more (as it were) from the University magazine can be read here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.