A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Small Molecule Walker Takes First Steps
A single molecule has been made to take its first steps, in a new development from Oxford University chemists.
'In the future we can imagine tiny machines that could fetch and carry cargo the size of individual molecules, which can be used as building blocks of more complicated molecular machines; imagine tiny tweezers operating inside cells,' said Dr Gokce Su Pulcu of Oxford University's Department of Chemistry. 'The ultimate goal is to use molecular walkers to form nanotransport networks,' she says.
As they report in this week's Nature Nanotechnology, Su and her colleagues at Oxford's Bayley Group took a new approach to detecting a walker's every step in real time. Their solution? To build a walker from an arsenic-containing molecule and detect its motion on a track built inside a nanopore.
'We can't 'see' the walker moving, but by mapping changes in the ionic current flowing through the pore as the molecule moves from foothold to foothold we are able to chart how it is stepping from one to the other and back again,' Su explains.
To ensure that the walker doesn't float away, they designed it to have 'feet' that stick to the track by making and breaking chemical bonds. Su says: 'It's a bit like stepping on a carpet with glue under your shoes: with each step the walker's foot sticks and then unsticks so that it can move to the next foothold.' This approach could make it possible to design a machine that can walk on a variety of surfaces.
Science fiction fans remember with some apprehension the first steps of the autofac from the 1955 Philip K. Dick short story of the same name:
The cylinder had split. At first he couldn't tell if it had been the impact or deliberate internal mechanisms at work. From the rent, an ooze of metal bits was sliding. Squatting down, O'Neill examined them.
The bits were in motion. Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully - constructing something that looked like a tiny rectangle of steel.
"They're building," O'Neill said, awed.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/13/2014)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Mika The Robot-Boss
'the robot-boss was busy at the lip of the new lode instructing and egging the men on to greater speed...' - David C. Cooke, 1939.
Sensitive, Soft Robot Skin
'...tinted material that had all the feel and appearance of human flesh and epidermis.' - Harl Vincent, 1934.
Finger Sensors For Robot Hands
'What strange sensitivity! What an amazing development of science was manifested in every move and act and word of this Robot!' - Ray Cummings, 1931.
A Vacuum With An Arm - Engineers Create Heinlein's Hired Girl Robot
'Anything larger than a BB shot it picked up and placed in a tray...' - Robert Heinlein, 1956.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Wearable Energy Harvester
'... he had tightened the chest to gain maximum pumping action from the motion of breathing.'
Drones Participate In Buddhist Rites
'...a prayer wheel swung into view and began spinning at a furious pace.'
Anna Indiana AI Singer-Songwriter
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents'
Video Manicuring ala Schismatrix
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time'
'Feel the AGI' OpenAI Leader Now OpenWorship
'And are all the people willing to be governed by a machine?'
NASA Tests Prototype Europa Lander
Why have legs if they don't walk around?
Tailsitter Drone Aircraft For SAR
'...it was so easy for me to remain motionless in midair.'
Forward CarePod The AI Doctor's Office
'It's an old model,' Rawlins said. 'I'm not sure what to do.'
Mika The Robot-Boss
'the robot-boss was busy at the lip of the new lode instructing and egging the men on to greater speed...'
Yamaha Motoroid 2 No Handlebars Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He rode the bike with an intense lack of physical grace...'
San Francisco Autobus
'THE autobus turned silently down the wide street...'
Should Your Car Decide If You Can Drive?
'Okay. Maybe the car was right...'
Lucid Dreams On Demand From Prophetic and Card79
'the peeper did not operate by virtue of its machinery alone, but by the reaction of the brain and the body of its user...'
Honda UNI-ONE Hands-Free Wheelchair Follows 100 Year-Old Design
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed...'
EBS-260 Handjet Free Hand Dot Matrix Printer
'McKie held a chalf-memory stick over the dusted surface.'
Sensitive, Soft Robot Skin
'...tinted material that had all the feel and appearance of human flesh and epidermis.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories