Bacteria Controlled by Magnets Build Pyramid. You Heard Us.

Senior Contributor
09.03.10 5 Comments

Why, yes, we intentionally went out of our way to write the weirdest headline we could think of for this news story, but it’s 100% true. A bunch of Canadian scientists, specifically the guys up at the Nanorobotics Laboratory at the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, have figured out how to make certain bacteria do their bidding.

It works because the bacteria are “magnetotatic”, which means they swim in the direction of a magnetic field. So it’s fairly easy to manipulate them into moving around small blocks of epoxy and get them to build simple structures.

This may sound pretty goofy and pointless, but it’s not. This is actually a major step forward for nanotechnology. This is a proof of concept: we can actually do the stuff that heretofore was limited mostly to cyberpunk novels and hand-wringing by fundamentalists who barely grasp how robots work but can understand the term “gray goo”. Now it’s just a matter of making it effective. Check out the video under the jump and marvel at how kinda gross the future looks.

[ via Make ]

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