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Glowing Nanobots Map Microscopic Surfaces 16

parad0x writes: "This article in Nature describes researchers at the University of Washington in Seatlle developing molecular robots which can produce maps of microscopic structures and devices with extremely high revolution, at times exceeding the abilities of conventional microscopes."
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Glowing Nanobots Map Microscopic Surfaces

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  • devices with extremely high revolution,

    Cool! High-res maps of propellers in motion!

  • 1. Seattle. Not Seatlle.
    2. Resolution. Not revolution. Unless you're referring to my freshman English teacher, spinning in her grave.

  • HOLY SH*T. is any one not astounded by this article? i noticed that no one has commented about these nanobots. either the article is a joke or it must be a really bad@ss technology. i'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. what does everyone else think?
    • Given that it's been published in one the best scientific journals, and that there is nothing unbelivable in it, I'd say that it isn't a joke.
    • i noticed that no one has commented about these nanobots

      Well they're not really nanobots... at least not in the sense that they're manmade, capable of motion, or even controllable.

      What these guys have called nanobots are nothing but tiny fragments of microtubules. They "move" about the cell by being pushed around by kinesin proteins coating the membrane surface...kind of like surfing across a big mosh pit.

      Our cells contain kinesin molecules that blindly "walk" down the length of microtubules, moving cargo from one part of a cell to another. If anything, these are the real nanobots, since they actually do the moving.
  • I've found that this site: [] is a great reference to the business side of the nanotechnology field. If you're interested in learning more about the current research going on, or about what company to invest in, I think it's a pretty good starting point.
  • by Guru1 ( 521726 )
    To create self-propelled nanoscale robots, Vogel's team reversed nature's arrangement. By fixing kinesin molecules all over a surface, wormlike microtubules propel themselves randomly all over the surface. By attaching a fluorescent dye to the microtubules, the researchers can follow where they go - and where they don't.

    Anyone else notice the slight jump in nanotechnology? Just a few months ago scientists were excited because someone had made a very small bull: tml [].

    While I understand the bull is a lot smaller, the actual light & movement from these new nanobots seems to be a much more utilitarian view of nanotechnology.
  • It would have been nice to see the article compare this to the latest technologies in STM (scanning tunneling microscopy).

    It seems like STM's are not what is referred to as conventional microscopes, which makes sense, but it might be noteworthy that resolutions like those mentioned in the article are not particularly hard to achieve.
    • It would have been nice to see the article compare this to the latest technologies in STM (scanning tunneling microscopy).

      It doesn't compare. These images are film/CCD captured. What these guys have done is to put flourescent molecules on proteins that "walk" down microtubules. So instead of just seeing the whole microtubule skeleton at once (which you could do with a specific stain), you see a version that "develops" as the proteins traverse it. Yea.
      • What these guys have done is to put flourescent molecules on proteins that "walk" down microtubules.

        I got that backwards. See my earlier post. Flourescent microtubule fragments are randomly pushed around on a fixed surface of kinesin.
  • So, they took a molecular tube structure normally found in cell walls called tubulin, then they attached "motor protiens" called kinesin that are also found in living cells.

    so now you have a little piece of cell wall !crawling ! around.

    So we construct a "self-propelled nanoscale robot" out of cellular material.

    If we found something similar to these robots on another planet? Wouldn't we consider it, a simple form life?

    Sheesh, I'm only 22, I'm going to see some f$@#ed things in my life.
  • by markj02 ( 544487 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @09:45PM (#3082083)
    This is molecular biology. Very neat molecular biology, to be sure. But it has nothing to do with nanotechnology. If you call this stuff "nanobots", then your big toe is mostly composed of nanobots.
  • Sorry, but Nature is often more tabloid than journal. Same for Science. Remember cold fusion? Of course ya do.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman