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Self-replication achieved using structural DNA nanotechnology

Foresight Update 24.11—November 6, 2011
ISSN 1078-9731

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Carbon nanotube muscles could propel future medical nanorobots (video)

Nanotechnologist Ray Baughman from the University of Texas has been working for several years on artificial muscles made from yarn woven from nanotubes … Now, with an international team of collaborators, he has published in Science a torsional nanotube yarn muscle and demonstrated its use as a mixer for a fluidic chip. This artificial muscle provides far more rotation than seen with previous artificial muscles, and is as flexible as an elephant's trunk or an octopus's arm. …

Using DNA as bonds to build new materials from nanoparticles

The use of nanotechnology to fabricate novel materials with designed properties has advanced with the publication of a new set of design rules to use DNA molecules as bonds to assemble various nanoparticles into a wide variety of controlled structures. …

Viruses guide nano-assembly of biomaterials

Researchers at UC Berkeley have taken a bioinspired approach to control the nanostructure of deposited thin films. … The films designed in the laboratory are made of the bacteriophage M13; a virus that infects bacteria but poses no threat to humans. …

Self-replication achieved using structural DNA nanotechnology

Structural DNA nanotechnology has provided the first step toward a general method of creating artificial self-replicating materials of arbitrary structure and composition. …

Singularity University takes on advanced nanotech questions

The Singularity University Executive Program recently took on the challenges of advanced nanotech:

Nanotechnology: How should we evaluate the environmental impact of human-made machines that are too small to see? What limits should be placed on self-replicating nanodevices? What defenses should we institute against malevolent uses of such technology?

Destroying cancer cells by incorporating an artificial biological computer

Several decades from now we hope to have sophisticated medical nanorobots, produced by molecular manufacturing, that can enter cells, analyze the state of the cell, and initiate appropriate therapy, such as killing cancer cells. A team of scientists from Harvard University, MIT, and the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland has taken an important step in that direction by demonstrating a synthetic circuit that, when incorporated into a cell, detects the presence or absence of five specific small RNA molecules, processes that information, and then, based upon that result, either kills or does not kill the cell. …

Magnetic nanoparticles to cook brain cancer go into trial in patient

Nanotechnology has been applied to produce various types of nanoparticles that can deliver toxic agents specifically to the cancer cells. Many of these approaches have shown promise in animal studies. One approach using magnetic nanoparticles has now gone into trials in patients. …

Video of very impressive DARPA-funded quadruped robot

In light of our continuing interest in the ways in which nanotechnology will interact with robotics and other emerging technologies, here is an update from IEEE Spectrum on the Boston Dynamics robot project. The earlier version called BigDog was cited here a few years ago, and was impressive enough. The update is a substantially improved version called AlphaDog. …

Researches uncover early phases of carbon nanotube growth

Physicists Zhifeng Ren and Hengzhi Wang of Boston College have discovered two initial stages of carbon nanotube growth previously obscured during the growth process. What the researches found is that carbon nanotube growth undergoes an initial phase in which newly grown tubes appear haphazardly arranged, followed by a second stage in which the tubes become more aligned. The third stage, and the one responsible for masking the initial two phases, is the stage in which the tubes are fully aligned. …

—Nanodot posts by James Lewis, Christine Peterson, Christopher William Ince Jr., and Ivo Rivetta.

Foresight Events – Lectures

Panel: Tour of the Human Condition-Life
January 19, 2012
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Foreseeing Future Technologies

Advancements in technologies such as nanotech, robotics, and biotech are promising to make major differences in our lives in the not-too-distant future, as the Industrial Revolution did to the agrarian world — to do for the physical world what the computer and Internet have done to the world of information.

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February 12-15 2012
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