Say Hello to your New Nanites

December 8, 2023
December 8, 2023 Hal Jordan

Say Hello to your New Nanites

Scientists from universities in New York and Ningbo, China, have reported a groundbreaking achievement in the development of nanorobots constructed from DNA that possess the ability to reproduce themselves. These miniature robots hold potential applications in medical scenarios, such as targeted missions against cancer cells within the human bloodstream or the retrieval of toxic waste from the ocean, all without the need for invasive surgical procedures. The size of these nanorobots is so minute that a thousand of them could comfortably fit within the width of a sheet of paper. Feng Zhou, a lead researcher from New York University’s Department of Physics and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, emphasized the potential of nanoscale industrial robots as manufacturing platforms. These robots exhibit the capability to autonomously execute repetitive tasks, ensuring the handling and production of nanomaterials with remarkable precision and accuracy.

Zhou explained that the 100-nanometer-wide mechanisms manipulate various segments of DNA strands, aligning them correctly for “welding” and seamlessly progressing to the subsequent step in the process. The researchers employed a groundbreaking method for folding DNA in three dimensions, surpassing the previous limitation of 2D construction in DNA robotics. This innovative approach allows for limitless self-replication.

Andrew Surman, a nanomaterials specialist and chemistry professor, acknowledged the complexity of assembling such nanorobots. He emphasized the importance of the precise folding of synthetic and biomolecular structures for their optimal functioning. Zhou’s team built on four decades of progress in DNA nanotechnology, introducing multiple-axis precise folding and positioning as a tool for nanomanufacturing, paving the way for more intricate nano- and microdevices.

In an interview with NewScientist, Zhou highlighted the potential for nanomachines and robots programmable and controlled by light and heat, facilitating the nanoscale production of biocompatible structures and devices. Richard Handy, from the University of Plymouth, envisioned therapeutic applications, such as constructing enzymes or proteins within tissues for individuals with genetic deficiencies.

Despite the promising advancements, the report also acknowledged concerns reminiscent of science fiction scenarios, particularly the catastrophic replication of nanobots leading to the consumption of all biomass—a concept famously referred to as “gray goo.” E. Eric Drexler, a nanotechnology pioneer, previously described this nightmare scenario in his 1986 book “Engines of Creation.”

The research, titled “Toward three-dimensional DNA industrial nanorobots,” is published in Science Robotics.




9 December
1952Michael Dorn is born.
2005Robert Sheckley dies.

10 December
1919Alexander Courage is born.
1928John Colicos is born.
1941Fionnula Flanagan is born.
1966 – An open letter is published by a group of science fiction writers (including Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson and Theodore Sturgeon), warning fans about the possible cancellation of Star Trek and urging them to write letters to NBC.
1986 – The first casting call for Star Trek: The Next Generation is sent to studios and agencies.
1992Melissa Roxburgh is born.
2020Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister, Jr. dies.

11 December
1944Terri Garr is born.
1958Lisa Morton is born.
1967Bjo Trimble initiates the letter-writing campaign to save Star Trek: The Original Series from cancellation.
1998Star Trek: Insurrection premieres in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
2011Alan Bernard dies.

12 December
1970Mädchen Amick is born.

13 December
1929Christopher Plummer is born.
1958Lolita Fatjo is born.
1962David A. Goodman is born.
2002Star Trek Nemesis is released in the US and Canada.
2003Barry Russo dies.

14 December
1930Herbert F. Solow is born.
1964 – After requested modifications, the three-foot Enterprise model is delivered to Gene Roddenberry on the set of “The Cage“, and used as an actual filming model for all visual effects shots in “The Cage”, save for the most important one, “the zoom-in on the bridge” effects shot.
1996Edward K. Milkis dies.
2006Star Trek: Legacy, the first video game to feature the voices of all five captains, is released on Xbox 360.

15 December
1952Marta Dubois is born.
1956Mark Riccardi is born.
1968Garrett Wang is born.
1992William Ware Theiss dies.
2016Shep Houghton dies.


The United Federation Starfleet Blog is written by Fleet Captain Hal Jordan and is published every Friday. Join in the discussion! Engage with us on Discord at:


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