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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Molecular Swarms

Letting Molecular Robots Swarm Like Birds   Hokkaido University  By Naoki Namba

Researchers at Hokkaido University and Kansai University in Japan have created DNA-assisted robots that autonomously swarm in response to chemical and physical signals, which could lead to the development of future nano-machines. The new "swarm robots" measure 25 nanometers in diameter and five micrometers in length, and they exhibit behavior similar to that of motile organisms such as fish, ants, and birds. "These include the formation of complex structures, distinct divisions of labor, robustness, and flexibility, all of which emerge through local interactions among the individuals without the presence of a leader," says Hokkaido University's Akira Kakugo. He notes the new system has three essential robot components--sensors, information processors, and actuators. The researchers used cellular proteins called microtubules and kinesins as the actuator, and DNA as the information processor. "The system acts as a basic computer by executing simple mathematical operations, such as AND or OR operations, leading to various structures and complex motions," Kakugo says.   ....  "

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