Microscopic Robots in Your Bloodstream

Engineers have used carbon nanotubes to create artificial muscle that moves like an elephant's trunk, which could be used to propel microscopic nanobots through the bloodstream. 

What's the Latest Development?


An international team of scientists led by UT Dallas engineer Ray Baughman have created artificial muscle by using carbon nanotubes that might one day send microscopic robots through the bloodstream. "By twisting together 'untold billions' of microscopic, straw-like carbon nanotubes into filamentous strands of 'yarn,' Baughman's team was able to create a nanoscale motor capable of spinning at nearly 600 rpms, and turning a weight 2,000 times heavier than the yarn itself."

What's the Big Idea?

The difficulty in creating microscopic machines is that as size decreases, so does power output relative to mass. Baughman's new method, however, "produces a rotating action 1,000 times larger than previously known artificial muscle systems." The mechanical movements created by these muscles have potential applications in everything from cancer therapies to portable electronics. The researchers believe that as advancements continue to be made, it will be possible to propel microscopic robots through the human body. 

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

If you want to spot a narcissist, look at the eyebrows

Bushier eyebrows are associated with higher levels of narcissism, according to new research.

Big Think illustration / Actor Peter Gallagher attends the 24th and final 'A Night at Sardi's' to benefit the Alzheimer's Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 9, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
popular
  • Science has provided an excellent clue for identifying the narcissists among us.
  • Eyebrows are crucial to recognizing identities.
  • The study provides insight into how we process faces and our latent ability to detect toxic people.
Keep reading Show less

Why are women more religious than men? Because men are more willing to take risks.

It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.

Photo credit: Alina Strong on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
  • A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
  • The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
Keep reading Show less