Bacteria Power Tiny Motor

Posted on September 10, 2006  Comments (1)

Wheel of Life: Bacteria provide horsepower for tiny motor by Peter Weiss:

To make the motors, Hiratsuka’s team, led by Taro Q.P. Uyeda of the National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan, borrowed fabrication techniques from the microelectronics industry.

The machinery of each motor consists of two parts: a ring-shaped groove etched into a silicon surface, and a star-shaped, six-armed rotor fabricated from silicon dioxide that’s placed on top of the circular groove. Tabs beneath the rotor arms fit loosely into the groove.

To prepare the bacterial-propulsion units, the team used a strain of the fast-crawling bacterium Mycoplasma mobile that was genetically engineered to crawl only on a carpet of certain proteins, including one called fetuin. The researchers laid down fetuin within the circular groove and coated the rotor with a protein called streptavidin.

One Response to “Bacteria Power Tiny Motor”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Micro-robots to ’swim’ Through Veins
    December 12th, 2006 @ 7:26 pm

    […] Micro-robots that can ’swim’ through the vascular and digestive systems of the human body to perform medical tasks via remote control and, in many cases, avoid invasive major surgery, are being developed […]

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