Feeds

Sperm-derived power system for nanobots patented

Emissions issue overcome by spunky boffins

The next step in data security

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. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source
Landlubber scope-gazers squint to horizons and see anti-electron count surge
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.