Robot Amoeba!

Yet more cool nanotechnology, this one from Shin-ichiro M. Nomura’s lab at Tohoku University: an amoeba-like robot. This robot is built with biological materials, and uses custom DNA as the controller (the “clutch”). Wow!

The demonstration doesn’t do too much, but is completely controlled by chemical signals that trigger movement of the membrane. This is the basic function of a robot.

The paper gives details of how all this works, and the video is actually very helpful. As always, these tiny naonmachines blow my mind!

The icing on the cake is that the researchers have made the robot available for others to build on. Apparently, they can ship a frozen unit to your lab, “as a kit so that other scientists can “play with the robots” and incorporate their own components,”


This is something to watch to see what develops.

  1. Yusuke Sato, Yuichi Hiratsuka, Ibuki Kawamata, Satoshi Murata, and Shin-ichiro M. Nomura, Micrometer-sized molecular robot changes its shape in response to signal molecules. Science Robotics, 2 (4) 2017.
  2. Emily Waltz, Amoeba-Like Robot Programmed With DNA, in IEEE Spectrum – The Human OS. 2017.

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