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Caltech scientists make robots out of DNA that can pick stuff up and move it around – Los Angeles Times

In the future, swarms of robots could be called in to build impressive structures or clean up dangerous messes too small to be seen with the naked eye. Just ask researchers at Caltech, who have designed surprisingly simple robots made of DNA.

The findings, published in the journal Science, mark another step on the road to creating tiny robots that could revolutionize medicine.

“I thought it was a fairly major step forward in molecular robotics,” said John Reif, a DNA nanoscientist at Duke University who was not involved in the research. The experiment, he said, “demonstrated that a little army of DNA robots can operate in parallel independently to work together to solve a problem.”

The robot is made of 53 nucleotides — the basic structural units of DNA — and is 20 nanometers tall. It has different body parts: a hand and an arm for grabbing cargo; a foot, a leg and another foot for walking. (Because of the shape of its body, “walking” looks more like crawling around like a drunken inchworm; the little bot does this on a tiny flat surface roughly 60 by 60 nanometers in area that is also built out of DNA.)

Caltech scientists make robots out of DNA that can pick stuff up and move it around – Los Angeles Times

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