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Science & Technology

Self-assembling microparticle machines

August 9, 2011 | Comment icon 8 comments



Image Credit: sxc.hu
Scientists have revealed some of the remarkable properties of small colonies of tiny magnetic particles.
The tiny particles are able to self-assemble in to microscopic machines that can manipulate other particles. It is hoped that this could pave the way for new fabrication processes that aren't possible with conventional machines.
The asters can swim around, open wide like Pac-Man and hug another object, transporting it to another spot. Watch the video below, wherein one aster curls up and transports a small glass bead across the field of view, with gracefully organic movement. The glass bead weighed four times that of the self-assembled aster, according to an ANL news release.


Source: Popular Science | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by MaTrIxLike 11 years ago
well that looked usless...hope i'm wrong and they can realy do something with that stuff
Comment icon #2 Posted by V__ 11 years ago
That looks really cool !! Think of all the possible applications of this. If these particles can be programmed they can form/break formations to form simple and highly complex structures.. Sounds straight outta a science-fiction movie
Comment icon #3 Posted by DieChecker 11 years ago
That was fantastic. I wonder how they control the movement? Magnetics sure, but directed how?
Comment icon #4 Posted by rhopper 11 years ago
This would be great at fixing leaks or for forming patches.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Taut 11 years ago
Well, I can see some uses for this that are not so beneficial. Maybe Kurzweil is right. There really is a techno event horizon that we are heading toward. Nanotechnology is starting to scare me, and I'm not usually a paranoid person. Nanotech in general is not really different from first splitting the atom. They didn't really know if the entire atmosphere would be involved in the chain reaction but they did it anyway. A rational person doesn't give a 4 year old a gun to play with. At the same time, it's absolutely fascinating.
Comment icon #6 Posted by philbo 11 years ago
This story is so lame...its not new technology. everyones done this with a magnet as a kid and started pulling around iron filings on a table.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Sundew 11 years ago
Perhaps if perfected this could be used to transport chemo-therapy directly to cancer in the human body, minimizing the bad of effects of the drug.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Khaleid 11 years ago
If they're ever going to start using this technology in the human body to regulate some vital function or recovery process, then in my opinion they'd better try and find some other means besides magnetism to operate these SAMMs. Magnetism is all around us in our daily lives, and who's to say that walking close to a card sweeper isn't accidentally going to (de)activate them?


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