If you’re smiling to yourself or if your face is frozen with torror, thinking that’s exactly what the world needed, rest assured, we feel the same. But apparently, all this effort is in the name of science and not to scare all those poor souls who have a crippling fear of cockroaches.
The cockroach nanobots respond to chemical cues and even operate inside them, acting like genuine computers. The tiny robots, which measure one-billionth of a meter, have the ability to perform tasks, which makes them completely programmable. They can target tumor cells, repair damage inside the body and much, much more.
The technique used by the scientists to create these cockroach nanobots is called DNA origami. As you well know, DNA comes in two long strings, a double helix shape. What you may not know is that it can be manipulated into different shapes. In this particular case, the scientists knitted the DNA into a box with a lid, thus creating a robot called effector or simply E. If this didn’t knock your socks off, the fact that the lid opens when certain molecules touch it, certainly will.
These robots were injected into cockroaches and each box had inside a different chemical which recognized the insect’s version of white blood cells and then it would bind to it.
Obviously, more studies need to be performed on various animals before a conclusion can be drawn, but the results with the cockroach nanobots are promising. If you would like to read more on this, the study is published in the Nature Nanotechnology issue (April 6).