Our best parallel now would be closer to using two dozen R/C cars, controlled by a tiny remote brain, to swarm through the maze. Although our most sophisticated nanomachines are still not yet ready to navigate your blood stream, Japanese researchers have recently come one step closer by
inventing a nanotech "brain." The device, comprised of seventeen molecules of the chemical duroquinone, is arranged as a ring of sixteen, with one in the middle, all connected by chemical bonds. By manipulating the state of the middle molecule with a scanning tunneling microscope, the scientists were able to make the ring of sixteen simultaneously follow suit.
While the brain is very much in its early stages, the work is a an important step towards nanomachines playing a role in medicine. The one-to-many concept is critical to robotic control and has the potential for applications in future generations of computing.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.