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Nano-Scale Robot Arm Moves Atoms With 100% Accuracy

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the human-tetris-anyone? dept.

266

destinyland writes "A New York professor has built a two-armed nanorobotic device with the ability to place specific atoms and molecules where scientists want them. The nano-scopic device is just 150 x 50 x 8 nanometers in size — over a million could fit inside a single red blood cell. But because of its size, it's able to build nanoscale structures and machines — including a nanoscale walking biped and even sequence-dependent molecular switch arrays!"

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+or-h (0)

HarryatRock (1494393) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811228)

exactly?

Re:+or-h (1)

bantab (1723504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811722)

The good doctor was able to revolutionize materials science, but he failed statistics.

Exponential Growth (4, Funny)

elzurawka (671029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811246)

So, the first one builds a friend, then each builds a friend, and each of those builds a friend. Soon enough there will be millions, and they will be able to invade your blood cells!

I for one welcome our nano sized robot overlords

Re:Exponential Growth (1)

Spazed (1013981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811258)

The grey goo wars have begun!

Re:Exponential Growth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811346)

replicators!

Re:Exponential Growth (4, Funny)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812118)

Ah nanotechnology.

Its the next big thing.

Re:Exponential Growth (4, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811362)

I for one welcome our nano sized robot overlords

Because they are nano sized would that not make them under lords?

Re:Exponential Growth (4, Funny)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811520)

Inner lords, I think, they being inside our blood cells and all.

Re:Exponential Growth (2, Funny)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812006)

They control our physiology, but we control their programming, so they may be some kind of meta-lords.

Re:Exponential Growth (2, Funny)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812060)

The Jack Putter machine: zero defects!

Re:Exponential Growth (2, Funny)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812272)

I'm sorry, Jack but no amount of money will get Dennis Quaid inside me.

Re:Exponential Growth (3, Funny)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812186)

I think Scientology has a copyright on "Inner Lords."

Re:Exponential Growth (0, Redundant)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811534)

Because they are nano sized would that not make them under lords?

Probably. It would take a beowulf cluster of them--at the very least--to be any real threat.

- RG>

Re:Exponential Growth (2, Insightful)

WhatDoIKnow (962719) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811416)

You mean like in Cowboy Bebop the Movie?

Re:Exponential Growth (1)

LOLYouAreWrong (1724080) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811502)

WRONG

Re:Exponential Growth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811632)

Oh great. Replicators.

Re:Exponential Growth (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811986)

The researcher's name is Dr. Seeman.

Re:Exponential Growth (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812022)

So, the first one builds a friend, then each builds a friend, and each of those builds a friend. Soon enough there will be millions...

Sounds like Amway.

Re:Exponential Growth (1)

tomzyk (158497) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812038)

So, the first one builds a friend, then each builds a friend, and each of those builds a friend. Soon enough there will be millions, and they will be able to invade your blood cells!

DON'T PANIC. They'll probably just be swallowed by a dog before we even realize they're attacking us.

Did we just break heisenberg's principle? (4, Interesting)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811256)

If it can move and place particles with 100% accuracy then at least at some point we know both where it is and how fast it's moving...

Re:Did we just break heisenberg's principle? (3, Insightful)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811326)

Isn't that only for sub atomic particles? This is moving the atoms themselves.

Exactly (4, Interesting)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811350)

Exactly. Moving individual atoms and placing them where we want them is about as fine grained as we can get before we run into the Uncertainty Principle.

Heisenberg applies to everything (1, Informative)

wurp (51446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811710)

But it's about *momentum* versus position. The more mass something has, the smaller the minimum product of the uncertainty in the *velocity* & position.

h >= dp * dx / 2 * pi

where dp is uncertainty in momentum; momentum is mass times velocity.

Re:Did we just break heisenberg's principle? (5, Funny)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811452)

>>Isn't that only for sub atomic particles? This is moving the atoms themselves.

No, the uncertainty principle applies to particles as well. All matter exhibits wave-particle duality (the De Broglie wavelength). Even relatively large molecules like C60 fullerenes have been shown to diffract through a slit.

Re:Did we just break heisenberg's principle? (5, Informative)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811966)

i don't know why this is rated funny, but it's true. even your table has wave-like properties, and theoretically it could be passed through a diffraction grid, and you'd get cool positive/negative interference of the table with itself if you put a wall on the other side of the grid. the only problem is that the table would have to move very slowly...

Re:Did we just break heisenberg's principle? (1)

caerwyn (38056) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811348)

Atoms are large enough that something like this can work despite the required uncertainties in both position and velocity.

Re:Did we just break heisenberg's principle? (2, Funny)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811884)

And if not, the little arm will go: "Nobody move! I dropped a molecule!"

Re:Did we just break heisenberg's principle? (4, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811402)

You're right, so clearly they could not have meant that. I assumed they meant that the arm will place an atom so that it bonds in just the way you want. There is a tolerance in that, sort of like with throwing a basketball through a hoop. Many initial trajectories will result in a basket.

Re:Did we just break heisenberg's principle? (1)

electricprof (1410233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811582)

Argh! So I should just withdraw my patent for Heisenberg compensators?

Re:Did we just break heisenberg's principle? (1)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811926)

How would they work?

Re:Did we just break heisenberg's principle? (4, Funny)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812152)

He's not certain.

Re:Did we just break heisenberg's principle? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811872)

Hey, if that is what they mean, could we guarantee which isomer of a molecule we get? That could come in handy.

Or it'll result in stuff like Phentermine jumping up the ranks of Scheduled chemicals.

Re:Did we just break heisenberg's principle? (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811834)

No such luck ... it doesn't work for cat particles.

Re:Did we just break heisenberg's principle? (2, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811974)

My girlfriend always moans at me in the car "Do you know how fast you are going?". To which I ALWAYS say "No, but I know exactly where I am".

"Why aren't we moving?" "I'm lost"

Bloody woman

I, for one, welcome our new nanobot underlords (-1, Redundant)

billstewart (78916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811260)

well somebody had to say it...

Neal Stephenson would be pleased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811264)

Can we get a diamondage tag?

Re:Neal Stephenson would be pleased (1)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811622)

I've not yet read Diamond Age, but I am looking forward to shouting unpleasantries at my neighbor's Library grapes when he isn't around.

Invisible Robotic Overlords! (0, Redundant)

jamesivie (805019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811272)

But can it seek out raw materials and make copies of itself? THAT would be cool! Welcome to our new nanosize robotic overlords!

Re:Invisible Robotic Overlords! (1)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811288)

Yeah, just keep Westley away from them.

Drexlerian universal assemblers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811274)

in 5...4...

d'oh. (1, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811284)

over a million could fit inside a single red blood cell.

And it's just a matter of time until someone does. Let's hope by then software engineering will be in a better state than it is now, or we may be scrambling to kill artificial viruses along with the real ones. As if the world wasn't deadly enough...

Re:d'oh. (0)

castoridae (453809) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812058)

Right, because software engineering today has made our world much worse off than it would have been without... enough FUD - somebody moderate this overrated please!

Re:d'oh. (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812308)

Right, because software engineering today has made our world much worse off than it would have been without... enough FUD - somebody moderate this overrated please!

You should mark yourself overrated. We shouldn't just accept major engineering disasters. Saying that I hope to see advancements in the state of the art before a technology that is not well-understood is put in the human body is not FUD. Get lost, troll.

DNA (5, Interesting)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811286)

does this mean someone can artificially alter their DNA using the nanobots?

Re:DNA (3, Funny)

dkh2 (29130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811508)

Well, a good portion of DNA is now known to fit the description "sequence driven molecular switch arrays." I would say the answer is a resounding 'Yes!'

The follow-on question - after determining which switches to throw for me to grow wings - how long before I go through probate to change my name to Warren Worthington?

Re:DNA (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811692)

Why wait to change your name?

Wings or not, you are still going to have the same problems with gravity as everyone else.

I guess once you build your (enormous) space habitat it might be cool to have wings.

Re:DNA (1, Interesting)

thehostiles (1659283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811796)

Could it then be possible to alter our brain pathways to increase our memory, cognition and senses?

I'd like better eyesight.

Although likely, companies will patent this
technology.

Microsoft DNA Kit. just plug this wifi adapter into your computer and specify the alterations you want.
Although, if people could hack the system, untold tragedy/hilarity would ensue.

My neighbour could hack my body into constantly thinking about shock images and replacing every fifth noun with the word "porn"

Re:DNA (1)

sproingie (1690772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811896)

I think I've met porn your neighbor.

Re:DNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811826)

It places individual atoms, it can do just about anything, given time.

However, there are limits. Lets say, for example, that you managed to simultaneously change the DNA in every cell in your body in such a way that if you'd had this mutation in the womb you'd have grown an extra set of arms. Would that do anything? No, of course not. Otherwise people who had an arm cut off would grow it back. Now, it might very well be possible to find a DNA sequence that would let you grow an extra set of arms (or wings, or whatever radical change you want) as an adult... but it would be several times as complex as alterations made before conception.

Science has triumphed once more!!!! (3, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811312)

Now it is possible to build the perfect woman! Of course, it'll take a few thousand years to get her fully assembled.

Re:Science has triumphed once more!!!! (0, Offtopic)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811414)

"perfect" is a subjective thing. There is no single "perfect" woman. Do you still find the same women attractive as you did 10 years ago, and is there just one such person?

Re:Science has triumphed once more!!!! (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811522)

Do you still find the same women attractive as you did 10 years ago, and is there just one such person?

I certainly do...we met in high school back in 1999 (I was class of 2002, she of '03). Love at a distance sort of thing. Unfortunately, one or the other of us were always dating someone, so there was never an opportune time to get together...we have been friends off and on since we met, but never got together. A bit over two years ago, I suffered navicular fractures in both of my wrists. She happend to randomly call me (hadn't seen each other in around 6 months) and came over to help me out. We both happend to be single.

We're now engaged :-)

Re:Science has triumphed once more!!!! (-1, Flamebait)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811656)

Sounds like you're still too young and naive to realize.

Re:Science has triumphed once more!!!! (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811906)

So your making that broad of an assumption based solely on my age and the story of how I met the woman I'm going to marry? Sounds like you are the naive one.

You know what? It doesn't matter. We know. That's all I care about.

Re:Science has triumphed once more!!!! (0, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811946)

augh, you're, not your.

Re:Science has triumphed once more!!!! (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811550)

Who said development would cease after release? :p

Re:Science has triumphed once more!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811536)

Well, you can cut down assembly time quite a bit by leaving out the extraneous, unnecessary bits. Arms and legs, for example.

Re:Science has triumphed once more!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811660)

Arms can be helpful because hands are awesome... teeth however can get in the way...

Re:Science has triumphed once more!!!! (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811766)

Your perfect woman wouldn't need to have arms or legs?

Assuming you're the typical immature online male, and this "perfect woman" is for purely sexual purposes, there are quite a few things that can't be done without arms or legs.

Her on top, doggy, hand jobs, etc.

And if you're not a typical immature male, and you actually want a relationship with this "perfect woman," then you're pushing around an invalid strapped into a wheelchair, who you made that way by choice/laziness.

She may be the perfect woman, but you're as far from the perfect guy as could be imagined.

Re:Science has triumphed once more!!!! (1)

crsuperman34 (1599537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811598)

Anthony Michael Hall and his late 80's PC are way ahead of you.

A New York professor (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811400)

That narrows it down.

Re:A New York professor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811634)

We all know it was a grad student anyways. So at least he didn't get all the credit ;)

Re:A New York professor (2, Funny)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812114)

I guess the editors saw that the name is Dr. Seeman and decided to spare us the flood of Anonymous Cowards.

Re:A New York professor (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812192)

You might call his work.....seminal......

"Success Rate" not "Accuracy" (5, Informative)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811424)

"100% Accuracy" implies a positional error of zero meters (to infinite decimal places), which is obviously not what they're talking about. Amazingly, this mistake is not just in the Slashdot summary, but in the cached [74.125.47.132] FA as well.

If we go to the referenced Nature article abstract [nature.com] we see that the development "yields programmed targets in all cases."

The correct terminology then would be "100% Success Rate" not "100% Accuracy".

P.S. Presumably "success" is defined by something like "90% Accuracy", to put an ironic spin on it. But it makes no sense to speak of accuracy in terms of percentage without a reference, such as "a single atom". So the criteria was probably something like X nanometers accuracy.

Re:"Success Rate" not "Accuracy" (3, Interesting)

m0nstr42 (914269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811776)

"100% Accuracy" implies a positional error of zero meters (to infinite decimal places), which is obviously not what they're talking about.

I caught that, too. But really "percent" doesn't even make sense as a unit of accuracy, does it? Unless it's fractional, in which case I'd take it to mean that if you want to make a relative move of x, you'll get something in the range (0,2x) or maybe (0.5x, 1.5x)? I mean, on the nano scale that's still kind of remarkable, but as you've pointed out it's just not what they mean. /pedantic

Re:"Success Rate" not "Accuracy" (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811898)

I think 100% might be a special case, as the unit doesn't actually matter for 100% (even though it might matter for 99.999%).

Re:"Success Rate" not "Accuracy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811828)

You are 100% correct.

Ooops! Dropped one (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811428)

Oooops! Dropped one. For what period of time did it achieve 100%?

Re:Ooops! Dropped one (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811820)

They started the test, and it failed. Then they started the test again, and it failed again. A few days later, they started the test, and it succeeded to move one particle correctly. At this point, they instructed it to stay still and wait for 8 hours, at which point they concluded the test. It therefor worked 100% of the time for a span of 8 hours.

Duh.

Re:Ooops! Dropped one (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811984)

They started the test, and it failed. Then they started the test again, and it failed again. A few days later, they started the test, and it succeeded

And that's what you're gonna get, lad. The strongest robot arm in these lands.

What they need to build first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811440)

A server that can stand up to a Slashdot assault.

Is this it? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811448)

The Assembler Breakthrough that we all read about in Engines of Creation?

-jcr

Re:Is this it? (1)

LOLYouAreWrong (1724080) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811584)

initials sig + quote sig = WRONG

You bumped me with your NANO ARM! (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811486)

Watch where you are going with that thing, Mr, or you are going to find my Nano Fist in your face!

almost a year old (2, Informative)

snoop.daub (1093313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811568)

The Nature Nanotechnology article is almost a year old. There are lots of people working on similar stuff, here's a review which mentions the Seeman work among many others (you probably need a library subscription to see the article, but the abstract should be accessible at least):

http://journals2.scholarsportal.info/details-sfx.xqy?uri=/14394227/v10i0015/2420_catdn.xml [scholarsportal.info]

No it really is 100% accuracy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811644)

The atoms will always be placed on a lattice site on a surface which is a kind of groove, or they are attempting to bond/touch it to another specific atom. Once in that site, the atom will stick there. Thus you essentially are placing the atom with 100% accuracy, unless you entirely miss the lattice site.

Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle has nothing to do with this. Stop trying to sound smart.

The possibilities... (1)

Andy Jensen (1723474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811646)

Imagine its other uses, such as in surgery! This is amazing!

Re:The possibilities... (1)

DrVxD (184537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812162)

It! Could! Also! Be! Used! To! Replace! All! Those! Exclaimation! Marks! That! You're! Wasting!

Just a thought..... (4, Insightful)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811662)

I don't know a heck of a lot about nanorobots and such, so I don't know whether it's possible or not, but if placing atoms with 100% accuracy is possible, shouldn't it also be possible to _remove_ atoms with 100% accuracy?

In that case, would it be possible to build something that disassembles atmospheric carbon dioxide, and build pencil lead and release oxygen in the process?

Of course, then you get into the problem of the energy stored in chemical bonds, and the energy required to overcome that. I have no idea if/how that applies to nanoscale robots, since they're mechanically working on individual atoms, rather than a bulk chemical reaction.

Re:Just a thought..... (1)

Tibia1 (1615959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812048)

I've been saying this on slashdot for a while now. Nanobots will be able to remove all we don't want in our atmosphere, fixing global warming and also giving us another resource to use, possibly to make more nanobots. Of course we don't have the software for making useful nanobots yet, but we have the hardware now, and we will get there. We have just removed a massive barrier in the physical fight (which I knew would be overcome any time now), and now we need to move to integration. For the first time, Anything is possible.

Re:Just a thought..... (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812096)

In that case, would it be possible to build something that disassembles atmospheric carbon dioxide, and build pencil lead and release oxygen in the process?

Of course, then you get into the problem of the energy stored in chemical bonds, and the energy required to overcome that. I have no idea if/how that applies to nanoscale robots, since they're mechanically working on individual atoms, rather than a bulk chemical reaction.

What do you mean "then you get into the problem..."? That IS the problem!

In a less snarky tone: we have many methods of separating the carbon from the oxygen. The difficulty is in first producing the energy needed to run the separation method -- because so many of our energy sources operate by combining carbon with oxygen.

Now that oil is getting expensive we'll see nuclear rebound. The envirowackos overestimated their own influence against nuclear, fancying their opinions to somehow override the almighty dollar. It has always (and only) been cheap oil keeping nuclear power generation at bay.

Re:Just a thought..... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812124)

In order to break the bonds, the assembler (disassembler?) would need to impart sufficient energy into them, in the form of momentum (technically heat, but at the scale of one atom it's easier to think about movement). The bonds are held in place because the shared electrons are in a lower energy state; as long as they have enough momentum they can reach "escape velocity" (yes, it's not velocity, but it's a good analogy) the atoms would separate.

IANAP, but I got As in quantum mechanics and chemistry :p

Re:Just a thought..... (4, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812126)

It's still a chemical reaction, it's just a very precisly controlled one. You would still have to add energy to break the bond in a molecule of CO2. I suspect that if someone goes through all the trouble to do that, they'll have it produce diamonds instead of pencil lead, since at least then you can sell the result and maybe make a bit of profit off of it (though not for long, what with economies of scale and everything. If this is really possible in large scale diamond will be cheaper than glass someday).

Re:Just a thought..... (2, Informative)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812188)

well, you can never cheat a molecule out of its potential energy, so of course this would still apply. however, maybe this method would be more energy-efficient that chemical methods of achieving the same thing, although i have no idea if this is the case or not.

Question: (0, Offtopic)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811698)

Can they make gold?

If they can place atoms with 100% accuracy, could they not then assemble molecules into any chosen configuration?

When's the first test?

I suppose it would take a long time doing it one atom at a time, but as noted by Feynman, they could make other copies of themselves first and when there are enough of them they could start assembling the elements themselves...

Re:Question: (5, Informative)

blincoln (592401) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811804)

Can they make gold?

This device manipulates atoms and molecules, not individual protons and neutrons within the nucleus of an atom. So no, it can't make gold out of another element. You can do that with nuclear reactions if you want to live the alchemists' dream.
It's still really amazing. I wish Feynman had lived to see it.

Re:Question: (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811994)

This device manipulates atoms and molecules, not individual protons and neutrons within the nucleus of an atom. So no, it can't make gold out of another element.

OK, so the subatomic components are probably another order of magnitude smaller again, which will take another 50 years of research... Thanks for the explanation!

Re:Question: (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811858)

Who said anything about subatomic particles?...

Re:Question: (5, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811918)

Can they make gold?

Gold?

Can they make HP ink?

Re:Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811954)

Last time that I checked, Gold was an atom.

Diamonds might be possible. But I think the story is referring to DNA.

Re:Question: (1)

DrVxD (184537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812184)

Can they make gold?

If they can place atoms with 100% accuracy, could they not then assemble molecules into any chosen configuration?

That wouldn't help you make gold, since gold is an atom, not a compound.

Re:Question: (4, Informative)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812290)

no, they can't make gold, because they don't move elementary particles, they move atoms. gold is an atom, hence they'd need gold to make gold, which isn't a very impressive feat. what would be cool is if they could take simple graphite (pencil lead), and assemble it into diamonds, and make the whole process significantly cheaper than diamonds are today. it could be a real game-changer, and i'd really enjoy seeing diamonds that now cost millions of dollars lose almost all their value, thus screwing over anyone who has made large investments into diamond jewelery. something like this happened with aluminium - it used to be a very expensive metal, because it was difficult to extract it from the ore, so there was a lot of aluminium jewelery. then some guy came up with a new way to extract it, and it became the cheap-ass metal we all know and love today.

Misleading headline (2, Interesting)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811728)

The article is about protein folding and manipulating DNA. It has nothing to do with a robot that picks up atoms and places them somewhere else.

Re:Misleading headline (3, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811952)

Actually, the article is about using a DNA strand to place individual atoms where you want with a 100% success rate. Basically, its using the DNA strand as a robotic arm, in that it does exactly what you would expect a robotic arm to do.

To paraphrase an old chestnut.. (4, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811844)

a two-armed nanorobotic device with the ability to place specific atoms and molecules where scientists want them

yes, but where the scientists want them and where the scientists have told its programs to put them are two different things!

You know what this means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812034)

Costa Rica will now be able to smuggle unlimited amounts of sugar in bloodstream nanocubes!

Up next: drug trafficking nanocubes!

Joke video (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812062)

This reminded me of the joke (can't find it now - if you know it please link to it!). Some scientists in a lab though it was funny because they made a large molecule 30% larger than the other molecules like it. Everyone looking at the image of it though it was the funniest thing ever. I thought it was one of those intel commercials, but I couldn't find it.

Anyway, this reminded me of that. Also when you are talking about something that small, how do you prove that they are doing what they are saying they are doing? It is so specialized that hardly anybody else has the equipment to do what they are doing so how does anyone prove or disprove it?

Re:Joke video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812212)

Are you thinking of this story [theonion.com] on the Onion?

Oh, boy! (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812280)

Here comes the first wave attack of the replicators...lucky I am a close friend of Thor!

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