Andrew Turberfield and his research team at the University of Oxford have built a programmable molecular robot, a molecular machine of sub-microscopic dimensions comprising artificial DNA. The genetic material travels amid track locations alienated by a distance of 6nm.
The molecular robot carries out commands that are programmed into a group of fuel molecules. These molecules decide the robot’s destination, for instance, to take left or right at an intersection in the track. The research depicts a significant step towards the development of the next generation of nanofactories and nonomachines.
Andrew Turberfield has mentioned that other researchers have built similar autonomous DNA-based robots. Some of these robots utilize a biped layout. When fuel is included, they travel by connecting and disconnecting from anchor points alternatively along the track of the DNA. Researchers would prefer to manipulate these robots for making them to walk automatically in several directions in a programmable fashion. This will lead to the development of payload-holding DNA machines.
The researchers have reported that a significant progress towards this mission can be achieved by developing a programmable robot that can select among several divisions of a molecular track, instead of simply moving in a straight course. This specific movement can be accomplished by means of ‘fuel hairpin’, a particle that acts as a customary command and also as a source of chemical energy for driving the robot along the DNA track. The commands will instruct the robot regarding the point that has to be moved next, enabling the robot to choose between left or right divisions of an intersection in the DNA track. This can enable the researchers to accurately manipulate the course of the robot, which would probably enable the robot to carry medicines or other substances.