Tiny bacteria may seem rather unintelligent, but a bacterial crowd can accomplish the Sisyphean task of turning microgears millions of times bigger than themselves. The microbes start out by swimming randomly, but occasionally collide with the spokes of a gear and begin pushing. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University observed a crowd gather and push against the spokes.
In an interesting experiment, researchers sheathed living yeast cells in armor of silica. The cells survived, and emerged as unusual armored versions of themselves that could become building blocks for nanotech applications.