In the classic 1966 American science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, a submarine crew was miniaturised and injected into a body to fix a blood clot in the brain. That obviously isn't how future medical science is going to work, but the notion of creating microscopic machines to perform complex tasks is certainly on point. A recent advance, in which robots made from DNA were programmed to sort and deliver molecules to a specified location, now represents an important step in this futuristic direction.
Tagged With nanotechnology
The Planet of the Apes prequels did much to explain how humans lost their status as the dominant species on the planet -- a cataclysmic set of events fuelled by a global pandemic known as the "Simian Flu". This virus, the product of a medical experiment gone horribly wrong, wiped out the vast majority of humans, but it boosted the brains of apes. And in the latest instalment of the franchise, the virus has mutated into an insidious new form, affecting humans in some disturbing new ways.
Predicting the future is hard. It's nearly impossible to know what technological marvels await in the next few years, let alone the next eight decades. Undaunted, we've put together a list of 10 super-advanced technologies that should be around by the year 2100.
The 2016 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded to a trio of scientists for their pioneering work in developing molecular machines. These gadgets measure just a thousandth of a human hair in width, and they're poised to revolutionise everything from manufacturing and materials to medicine and the functioning of the human body.
If the idea of a robot fish swimming through your veins elicits a Cronenberg-ian chill up your spine, you might want to brace yourself. Researchers at U.C. San Diego have created the first nanofish, the New Scientist reports -- a magnet-powered bot that they hope to use for targeted delivery of medication, non-invasive surgery and single-cell manipulation.
Nanomachines could revolutionise technology and modern medicine, if only we had viable power sources to make them move where we wanted them to go. Now scientists at the University of Cambridge have built the world's tiniest engines, powered by light, as described in a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Li-on batteries gradually deteriorate as they're repeatedly drained and recharged. But now researchers from University of California, Irvine have developed a new nano-wire battery that can survive hundreds of thousands of charging cycles.
Oil spills at sea, on the land and in your own kitchen could one day easily be mopped up with a new multipurpose fabric covered with semi-conducting nanostructures, developed by a team of researchers from QUT, CSIRO and RMIT.
"The fabric could also potentially degrade organic matter when exposed to light thanks to these semi-conducting properties," says Associate Professor Anthony O'Mullane, from QUT's School of Chemistry, Physics and Chemical Engineering, who collaborated with researchers from CSIRO and RMIT on this project.
This time two years ago we still didn't quite know how static electricity works. Now scientists have harnessed static electricity to control chemical reactions for the first time, in a breakthrough that could bring cleaner industry and cheaper nanotechnology.
Spider silk is nature's Kevlar. It's stronger than steel, it's waterproof, and you can stretch it as much as 30 to 40 per cent before it snaps. Now biophysicists at Johns Hopkins University think they know the secret to spider silk's remarkable elasticity: protein threads that serve as stretchy "superstrings". The researchers describe their work in a recent paper in the journal Nano Letters.
Hoverboards won't stop exploding lately, perhaps due to overheating batteries. But what if the battery could shut off before it got all hot and flamey? That's the idea behind recent research at Stanford, and the benefits go far beyond gimmicky gadgets looking to avoid recalls.
These perfectly straight trenches were dug by molecules of gold. Under just the right conditions, gold will act like a mini-snow blower. It will pry molecules out of a material, puff away the detritus, and then move on to the next. One day, we could use this to make entire labs on a chip.