Here Comes the Molecular Bots
From the world of nanotech comes news of a molecular-sized bot that can build other molecules. The news comes out of the University of Manchester in England. If this comes to fruition, these molecular bots could revolutionize medicine in the not-so-distant-future.
The tiny robots, which are a millionth of a millimetre in size, can be programmed to move and build molecular cargo, using a tiny robotic arm.
Each individual robot is capable of manipulating a single molecule and is made up of just 150 carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms. To put that size into context, a billion billion of these robots piled on top of each other would still only be the same size as a single grain of salt.
The robots operate by carrying out chemical reactions in special solutions which can then be controlled and programmed by scientists to perform the basic tasks.
In the future such robots could be used for medical purposes, advanced manufacturing processes and even building molecular factories and assembly lines.
‘It is similar to the way robots are used on a car assembly line. Those robots pick up a panel and position it so that it can be riveted in the correct way to build the bodywork of a car. So, just like the robot in the factory, our molecular version can be programmed to position and rivet components in different ways to build different products, just on a much smaller scale at a molecular level.’