Single-stranded tiles (SSTs) made of short strands of interlocking DNA can be programmed to assemble themselves into precisely designed shapes, including letters, numbers, and emoticons. (Source: Wyss Institute at Harvard University)
This is fascinating new technology, Ann. I would imagine one of the applications could be targeting chemotherapy to the cancer instead of having to broadcast it to healthy cells as well as cancerous cells.
Isn't this amazing? Targeted drug delivery is definitely one of the possible apps the researchers have in mind, and if that could be done for chemotherapy it would make a lot of people healthier and happier.
Thanks williamlweaver, glad you liked the article. Self-assembled devices is becoming quite an an active area of research. I have read Crichton's PREY: pretty scary stuff, in fact I found it his scariest so far because it's so believable, perhaps even inevitable. Thanks for the link to your swarms article--another area of research that's getting a lot of play, especially in robotics.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
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