Medical Robotics

Bacteria Turn Microgears

Posted 30 Jan 2010 at 00:15 UTC by Rog-a-matic Share This

Researchers from Argonne National Lab and elsewhere are finding ways to use the motion of swimming bacteria to move very tiny gears. The gear's shape directs a group of unsuspecting bacteria in such a way as to cause rotary motion. This motion can then be used to power tiny mechanical systems - possibly medical devices or maybe even tiny robots. Speed of the gears can be controlled by modulating the oxygen level within the suspension fluid - since bacteria love o2, feeding them more increases the speed while cutting off the supply stops motion.

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