Tagged With nanobots

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One of science fiction's biggest unfulfilled promises are medical nanobots: tiny little machines that will run around your body and right nature's wrongs. Scientists from the University of Houston are setting out to change all of that, with an incredibly clever self-assembling robotic gun that can clear blockages or inject drugs from inside your body.

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Look close. You may be staring at the end of cancer. Those tiny black dots are nanobots delivering a lethal blow to a cancerous cell, effectively killing it. The first trial on humans have been a success, with no side-effects.

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Move over bristlebot: Europe's I-SWARM program is developing some similarly small but much smarter micro 'bots that could be used to build human colonies on Mars. The tiny machines would be dispersed in huge numbers, working automatically and independently, and also collaborating together to form larger compound 'bots able to do physical stuff like moving rocks out of the way.

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Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have begun work on creating tiny groups of robots that utilise electromagnetic forces to alter their shape and function. Ultimately, the team hopes to build a large number of microscopic robots that are able to metamorphose into any conceivable shape. This would be done by applying a charge to the nanobots, which would form different structures based on how, or where, that charge is applied. The concept is not too dissimilar to the material that was shown to be used for Batman's cape in Batman Begins. That similarity makes this research instantly awesome.

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Scientists are investigating the possibility of using the "tiny assembly line that powers the whip-like tail of sperm" to send medical nanobots racing throughout the body. In order to work, these devices would have to be made from biomedical components —and at that size, "biology would provide the best functional motors." This approach seems bizarre, but apparently it could help solve the problem of supplying energy to thousands of minuscule internal devices that can fight or ward off disease. How long it will be before these spermbot slave drivers become a reality is anyone's guess.

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The GM OnStar Ant vehicle uses a Nanorb wheel system, "independent robots that can arrange themselves in any configuration" along with artificial muscles called "electro-active polymer actuators" to change the position of its body panels. It's probably made of adamantium too and it can transform itself faster than you can say "Optimus Prime" into any kind of vehicle, a shelter and, I bet, even in a killer ninja robot if programmed correctly. Fortunately for humans, is just a concept for the Robocar 2057 Design Challenge.