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World's Smallest Nanomotor Could Power Cell-Sized Nanobots For Drug Delivery

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the getting-small dept.

Medicine 20

Zothecula (1870348) writes "Scientists at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas have built and tested what appears to be the world's smallest, fastest, and longest-running nanomotor yet – so small that it could fit inside a single cell. The advance could be used to power nanobots that would deliver specific drugs to individual living cells inside the human body."

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I'm getting my order in today! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47064627)

I'll take a microgram of heroin please! If you could deliver it Friday, sometime after 4 pm, that'd be great. KTHXBYE

quick read (5, Funny)

Kurast (1662819) | about 8 months ago | (#47064637)

I read drug delivery, and thought: "The FBI will not like it".

They will be called (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47064675)


That's strange (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47064695)

I released about 35 million nanomotors this morning before breakfast.

Oh gee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47064811)

If only someone would start making those darn nanobots soon, seems like everytime something incredibly small is invented the first sentence out of the inventor is "OMG NANOBOTS AND DRUG-DELIVERY!"

Re:Oh gee... (4, Interesting)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 8 months ago | (#47064879)

What humors me is the fact that you're supposedly going to have these wondrous tiny machines that can work at the cellular level, and you're just going to use them to deliver old-fashioned drugs? I guess medical science isn't imaginative enough to get past the existing way of doing things. It kind of reminds me when futurists used to imagine robots as humanoid devices, pulling levers and turning knobs--with it never occurring to them that it would be much more efficient to actually REPLACE the old levers and knobs altogether and let the machine be operated directly by computer.

Re:Oh gee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47065253)

Hell yeah i wan't some brand new receptors powering those synapses!

Re:Oh gee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47065417)

I don't think that's what "humors me" means. To be honest, I've never seen that particular usage, the phrase "humor me" is meant to apply to another person. You probably meant "amuses me".

But you are right. Another hilarious failure of the imagination is all the space fantasy baloney from the 1960s and 1970s. Like the proto-space fantasies about how we'd have ONE communication satellite that was basically a glorified ham radio shack and it used vacuum tubes and needed constant tube swapping by intrepid astronauts.

Of course everyone focused on the dashing, square-jawed heroic astronaut-engineer-technician that everyone aspired to become...

I think it's difficult to separate the romance and child-like fantasizing from the reality.

I mean there are a lot of children's cartoons about kids and their friendly giant robots. Adults just fantasize about more prosaic friendly robots.

In the meantime, reality veers off into other directions and makes the past future entirely laughable.

Re:Oh gee... (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 8 months ago | (#47065861)

It kind of reminds me when futurists used to imagine robots as humanoid devices, pulling levers and turning knobs--with it never occurring to them that it would be much more efficient to actually REPLACE the old levers and knobs altogether and let the machine be operated directly by computer.

Well if the robots have to co-exist with us, do we change our environment to suite them, or do we build them to suite our environment?

For example, why are all the self driving cars actually cars? Surely there is a better form factor for schlepping around people and goods. But getting to that form factor would mean tearing down our current infrastructure. Its only after we replace all the manually driven cars that we can go to the next step and build an entirely new infrastructure to replace roads.

Beta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47064819)

I used privacy mode and to my amazement I got on another site called beta.slashdot.org. I thought it was already clear nobody wants it.

That site REALLY REALLY sucks, it is extremely slow, inefficient layout for a smaller screen and does not work without JavaScript.
Who convinced the owner to spend money on a design that would offend any (computer) scientist?
Looking at the source made me throw up, are you so really proud on that piece of crap that you dare to put your name in the code? Christopher Inman
Lead UI/UX Architect & Engineer at Slashdot Media (Dice Holdings Inc.)

Dice Holdings, please read, it is a common practice of freshly hired web developers to suggest a complete new fresh new design without a real need. It is a sort of lazy ness so they don't have to read or understand the previous developers code but can use the techniques they are comfortable with. It also brings a lot of job safety because a redesign is in most cases a big project, it brings sustained job safety because all the knowledge of that new design is with that new developer. People don't like change, your developer gets paid for making the change, the visitors don't want chance but gradual improvements or additions, not taking features and known design elements away. I have seen social networks gone bankrupt because of this, Microsoft is making a loss on Windows 8 because of this.

I don't say Chris Inman is one of those rogue developers but it surely looks like it. The arrogant behavior and response are indicators.

Re:Beta (0)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 8 months ago | (#47064909)

Every now and then I check in on it, hoping they've at least made some positive changes that might make beta at least tolerable. But so far, the inability to follow your own comment threads (or even tell if you've been modded on posts) has remained consistently unavailable. They keep telling us "We're listening," but I've never seen a single change made to indicate that. Back to classic again for me.

Riiiight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47064867)

FTA: "In the distant future, when faced with a cancer diagnosis, we might be able to simply ingest a "magic pill" filled with hordes of miniscule nanobots that target individual cancerous cells with drugs and leave the healthy ones unharmed."

So "World's Smallest Nanomotor Could Power Cell-Sized Nanobots For Drug Delivery" ... if we had cell-sized nanobots to power ... which we don't, and won't for the forseeable future.

Coming up in tomorrow's news; "Fusion Reactor Could Power Faster-Than-Light Spaceship" ... if only we had a faster than light space ship to power.

Re:Riiiight (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 8 months ago | (#47065135)

Plenty of other things that fusion reactors could power (like the electric grid so we can cut way down on carbon emissions) and desalination plants for drought areas.
And of course slower than light ships for travel within the solar system'''

for all you hatin' on this press release: (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 8 months ago | (#47065589)

nanomotors like these can be used to drive the world's smallest hurdy gurdy.

when things go wrong!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47065083)

So, what happens if these nanobots deliver drugs to the wrong types of cells or they're unable to get the nanobots to leave the body on command. Or, they could start destroying cells. Or, imagine the computer that controls them getting infected will malware! That would add new meaning to the term "computer virus".

Lastly, without self-replicating nanobots, how would they be able to produce enough of them to do something meaningful like cure the patient of HIV or cancer?

useless without a nano-driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47065373)

I would guess it is powered with a externl induced magnetic field (18000 rpm - correlated to aproximate frequency used ??)

But then there is the issue (for all the uses they mention) of guiding it in doing anything useful. A bit small to work off some external system with scanner, and that way one at a time. Self guided ? suddenly the 'smarts' better be something utterly simple to be made near the size this thing is.

'distant future' is mentioned -- a realization that this is only step one of a hundred tech achievements to achieve the hunter-killer goal they are talking about.

Re:useless without a nano-driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47066561)

Eh, why would it be powered by an external magnetic field? Are you some kind of electrical engineer stuck in the old paradigms?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P... [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org]

This is old news. Like I joked above, I released 35 million nano motors before breakfast.

cells do not need an outboard motor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47065949)

There may be a practical application, but an outboard motor for cells is not it. Cells are already very good at moving around the body: they have sophisticated chemical gradient sensors and multiple modes of movement through tissues and even blood vessel walls and the blood-brain-barrier. Please check out the recent work in adoptive T-cell CAR technology. This approach involves arming immune cells to recognize cancer, and then just injecting them back into the person's body, where they then find their way to the tumor through active mechanisms. Strapping a nanobot motor on the side of a cell is not going to speed this process up.

See also: flagella

Kurzweil was right... (1)

Lockdev (3028637) | about 8 months ago | (#47078183)

And so it begins.
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