Tiny particles are making big news today at the University of Edinburgh, where scientists have created a motor mechanism for a nanomachine. Last year researchers at the University of Georgia developed minuscule nanogenerators to power the nano world, but this latest unimaginably small machine — about 80,000 times thinner than the thickness of a human hair — runs on its own power.
David Leigh, a professor of chemistry at the university, sees the machine and its descendants driving a whole new era in technological progress. "It is a machine mechanism that is going to take molecular machines a step forward to the realization of the future world of nanotechnology. Things that seem like a Harry Potter film now are going to be a reality."
The submicroscopic device is able to trap molecule sized particles as they move, a first step toward a full fledged nanoengine. Leigh says this is the first time anything like his device has been developed. Now if the researchers can just keep the little buggers from runaway reproduction, congealing together into a huge mass of gray goo and taking over the world, this nanotech might spark a series of scientific and engineering breakthroughs that could dwarf the harnessing of electricity, the steam engine, and the Internet.