Nanobots and Biomimetics

Robots have fascinated people for decades. Science fiction stories have frequently made them as humanity's enemies. Similar stories have been written about nanobots, but that technology is only in its early stages. Scientists are hoping they can be used in space exploration and medical technology.

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We can guess about the "bot" part of the word, but what is a nano? It's not someone hired to care for the children. A nanometer is very, very small, and nanobots (or nanomachines) are robots that may work on the molecular level, but that is still under development. Sometimes games can be used to stimulate creativity, and there were nanosoccer competitions several years ago — microscopic games, what a concept!

There was a movie in 1966 called Fantastic Voyage that involved a submarine and crew miniaturized, injected into a patient, destroying a blood clot, then escaping. Imaginative stuff, but if nanobots are successfully developed, they may be useful for medical applications. But how to get motors to propel the things? Consider the ATP flagellar motor and others.

Biomimetics is a method of studying what is found in nature and using it for human applications — seldom crediting the Master Engineer for the intricate, specified complexity of his design work. In a bit of irony, a site called Evolution Jobs has an illustration of an imagined nanomachine that looks like it is spot-welding DNA. No, evolution has nothing to do with it, old son.
Inside your body, bacteria whip their spiral-like “tails,” or flagella, to zip from place to place. Doctors would love to harness this nanotechnology to send remote-controlled nanobots into human bodies and target diseases such as cancer. But researchers have discovered that they can’t simply miniaturize standard engines. In addition to small motors, they have to put some muscle into it—artificial muscle, that is.

You can finish reading this by motoring on over to "Nanobots Show Promise with Artificial Muscle". Also, you may be interested in my article inspired by a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode at "Engineered Nanobot Evolution".