Two Armed Nanorobotic Device Built from DNA: 100% Accurate Capture of Targeted Molecules

Chemists at New York University and China’s Nanjing University have developed a two-armed nanorobotic device that can manipulate molecules within a device built from DNA. The device is described in the latest issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology. [via]

Nadrian Seeman, co-author: “This is a programmable unit that allows researchers to capture and maneuver patterns on a scale that is unprecedented.”

The device is approximately 150 x 50 x 8 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. Put another way, if a nanometer were the size of a normal apple, measuring approximately 10 centimeters in diameter, a normal apple, enlarged proportionally, would be roughly the size of the earth.

The new, two-armed device employs DNA origami, a method unveiled in 2006 that uses a few hundred short DNA strands to direct a very long DNA strand to form structures that adopt any desired shape. These shapes, approximately 100 nanometers in diameter, are eight times larger and three times more complex than what could be created within a simple crystalline DNA array.

As with Seeman’s previous creation, the two-armed nanorobotic device enables the creation of new DNA structures, thereby potentially serving as a factory for assembling the building blocks of new materials. With this capability, it has the potential to develop new synthetic fibers, advance the encryption of information, and improve DNA-scaffolded computer assembly.

In the two-armed nanorobotic device, the arms face each other, ready to capture molecules that make up a DNA sequence. Using set strands that bind to its molecules, the arms are then able to change the structure of the device. This changes the sticky ends available to capture a new pattern component.

The researchers note that the device performs with 100 percent accuracy. Earlier trials revealed that it captured targeted molecules only 60 to 80 percent of the time. But by heating the device in the presence of the correct species, they found that the arms captured the targeted molecules 100 percent of the time.

DNA-Based Self-Assembly and Nanorobotics: Theory and Experiments a 183 page dissertation from Dec 2007

About The Author

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

I'd agree with philw1776 here. Narrow AI is indeed "old-school".


How human searching this space? Probably very effiecently eliminating wrong variants. It is hard to believe that until now exist games, in which human better than computer. I wonder, how much better? If supose computer would be able to "think" trilions years, do it will still loose to man?


Solving those games are old school AI problems. they are not using mimick human or biological ways of thinking or solving problems.


Chess, Go, etc. are not indications of AI. Huge compute power and very clever specialized algorithims 'hard wired' via FPGAs or other custom circuitry just for those particular algorithms is just specialized number crunching.

I look to the DARPA auto-nav contests for the best embodyments of AI and regretably even they are closer to glorified Go computers than to the navigation 'intelligence' of a horsefly seeking to drill a horse without being swatted.