June 3rd, 2008 | researchmaterial
Mapping nanospace. Or, more properly, nanospaces. But I’m a sf writer, and you had me at mapping nanospace:
Molecular "robots" have been developed by chemists to explore the unmapped chemical environments of living cells and transmit back the results.
The new molecules encrypt measurements of two different chemical features of cell membranes into light signals to be decoded by the British and Japanese chemists that built them. One measurement is encoded as in the light’s intensity, and the other into in its wavelength, or colour. Being able to map the variables they measure could help biochemists probe the mechanisms by which cells generate energy, or how signals travel through nerve cells.
"Concepts of nanorobotic vehicles and of mapping out nanospaces have emerged from science fiction into experimental science for the first time…"
And, somewhere, Patrick McGoohan’s getting an itch on the back of his neck, as a Swedish firm rolls out a prototype of an inflatable robot vehicle-sphere that could, within ten years, be thrashing the Martian landscape at thirty klicks an hour: