A small spiderlike robot measuring no more than four nanometers has been created that can walk along the track of our DNA and will, according to scientists in Paris, pave the way for a future of nanite enhancing systems that will be able to one day repair damaged tissues and neural pathways and forge new and stronger bonds for all humans and, for that matter, all creatures.
Could our DNA one day be actually altered even after birth by trillions of tiny robots running through our bodies, leaping from cell to cell and altering DNA in ways that are supposed to make us stronger, better thinkers, more observant, and even stop the eventual hurdle of age that is an inevitability for all life? Such robots could easily be the cure for cancer and any number of other ailments if they were truly effective. On the other hand, nanotechnology is a strange and often feared technology filled with disturbing what-if scenarios.
The DNA strands act as a track, like a model train’s does, with the robot moving along them like the train itself. With each passing moment the nanite could in theory be programmed to examine a section of DNA, make corrections, and determine if the replication process was being regulated properly. Of course this would ensure that cancer would not develop in people with such a system, and would even at some point in the future cure those who had many types of cancer. Of course this is the same eternal life type of technology that researchers have been talking about for years now.
The DNA spider is made of streptavidin, a common protein in humans. Its legs then help it cut and bind DNA sequences while a fourth holds it in place, ensuring it can find its way back. Though this is only the first of its kind, improvements could see a whole new future in medical science where pills are not the only, or even the main system of diagnosing genetic illnesses. In the future, tiny robots could go into a human’s DNA and “revise” the parts of its cell structure that are keeping that person from being healthy.
In addition, a trio of nanobots were given gold nano-particles which they were able to pass from one another and manipulate making the first nanite assembly line. This second part makes one small step into the future two small steps preparing for a giant leap into a world of nanobot assisted living. With any luck these technologies will be implemented within our lifetimes, but scientists are still unsure of the length of time it will take to make such systems both practical and affordable for the standard consumer.
And for those worried in a nanite ‘Grey Goo’ scenario, in which the nanobots escape a human body and travel across the Earth self replicating and destroying life as we know it, take comfort in the fact that these robots only run on a predesignated track and are programmed by the DNA itself. In other words, if they ever got out somehow, they would be nothing more than an infinitesimal speck floating through the air.