Hitch up the bacteria!

From: hal@finney.org
Date: Fri Nov 03 2000 - 16:01:01 MST

Hitch up the bacteria, Pa, we're steppin' out...


   The design revolves around bacteria (such as E.coli and S. typhimurium)
   which will be attached to cover slips in turn which are attached to
   a disc free to rotate about an output shaft. The bacteria by nature
   of their motile behaviour will swim and push or pull the disc. With
   forces acting tangential to the disc and bacteria oriented radially
   on the disc, the disc will rotate and this mechanical power generated
   by the microorganisms will act as the energy input source to a micro
   or nanosystem.

This and other fun papers can be found in the web page for the Eighth
Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology, presently in progress,
at http://www.foresight.org/Conferences/MNT8/Abstracts/index.html.

The keynote speech was by Ray Kurzweil, covered by Wired Online at
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,39967,00.html in a typically
breathless, gee-whiz fashion.

I don't follow nanotech work all that closely, but my impression,
looking at the titles and some abstracts, is that the field isn't
moving very quickly. It seems to be more science than engineering,
where the point is to make a tiny, incremental advancement over the
current state of the art. Maybe this is just because any time there
are so many papers being presented, the majority can't be very good,
and I don't have the skills to pick out the promising 10%.


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