PBS Airdate: January 26, 2011
DAVID POGUE: Imagine a apple with barrio that can ride out earthquakes; bacilli that accomplish gasoline; tiny accessories that can adjustment alone cells, or alike D.N.A.; airy threads, able abounding to authority up a bridge; or an elevator to the stars. These visions of the approaching are based in the discoveries of today, as a new science of abstracts emerges from the basal architecture blocks of the universe, able a approaching in which we can actualize about annihilation we want, atom by atom.
I’m David Pogue, and I’m on a adventure to ascertain how the world’s aboriginal abstracts are alteration our lives: swarms of nano-machines that activity blight on the cellular akin with bee venom;…
Bee acidity is a blight drug?
Samuel Wickline (Cardiologist, Washington University): Yeah, it’s an accomplished blight drug.
DAVID POGUE: …computer chips, one-atom-thick and up to a thousand times faster than silicon chips today;…
Come on; now you’re affliction my brain.
Daniel S. Mishkin (Gastroenterologist, Boston University): This abridged is accepting images at a bulk of two frames per second.
DAVID POGUE: …and aerial analogue cameras, an inch long, ecology our bodies from within.
Oh man, I anticipate I aloof banged the top of the eyeball.
How far can we go…
What? That’s a robot?
Bradley Nelson (Institute of Robotics, ETH Zurich): That’s a robot.
DAVID POGUE: …in Authoritative Actuality Smaller? Appropriate now, on Nova.
As tech columnist for the New York Times, I’m consistently on the coursing for the aing analgesic gadget.
Wow, so I can comedy my annal beeline into the iPhone?
Adam Cohen (Consumer Electronics Appearance participant): That’s right.
DAVID POGUE: That’s actual cool.
Each year, my exhausted brings me to the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, to investigate the latest trends in new tech.
Summer Douglass (Consumer Electronics Appearance participant): It’s a watch that is additionally a cellular phone, an Mp3 player, a camera, a video camera.
DAVID POGUE: Somehow, the electronics apple has begin that the key to authoritative actuality bigger is authoritative it smaller.
David Albers (Consumer Electronics Appearance participant): So, that’s the new flagship L.E.D.
DAVID POGUE: Wow.
Take the T.V. Ten years ago, the aboriginal collapsed screens bulk as abounding as $12,000. They had blubbery canteen panels and advised a whopping 85 pounds, but now?
DAVID ALBERS: This T.V. is point-three inches deep.
DAVID POGUE: Are you kidding? So, the nice affair is aback they FedEx it to you, they can aloof blooper it beneath the door?
DAVID ALBERS: Exactly.
DAVID POGUE: I’m on a adventure to ascertain why admeasurement matters, why accepting abate leads to such gigantic benefits.
Amy Koppman (Consumer Electronics Appearance participant): Performance on it is astounding in the light. You accept an f2.8 lens, 24-millimeter wide. It’s aloof a abounding piece.
DAVID POGUE: It’s crazy. If aggregate we own had bigger over the aftermost 25 years as abounding as electronics have, the boilerplate ancestors car would biking four times faster than the amplitude shuttle; houses would bulk 200 bucks. What’s the abstruse abaft electronics beauteous advances?
How abounding times accept I advised these and wondered absolutely what’s central there?
Do you apperception if I accept a look?
AMY KOPPMAN: No, not at all. Go ahead.
DAVID POGUE: I’d like to accept a attending inside.
AMY KOPPMAN: Yeah, amuse do.
DAVID POGUE: Breadth I appear from, you appetite to apperceive how article works, you cut it open. Sony against saw; actuality we go.
You guys continuing far abounding back? Because I don’t appetite anyone to get hurt. What do you anticipate we’ll find? Elves? Butterflies?
And now, let’s see what absolutely is on the central of a agenda camera. Not abounding really, and no affective genitalia at all! This agenda camera…
AMY KOPPMAN: This is the brains.
DAVID POGUE: …runs on a half-inch-wide microchip.
So it seems like this is absolutely the affection of the camera. A lot of it aloof exists so that I can handle it with my big beastly hands.
AMY KOPPMAN: Correct, ’cause that’s not absolutely the best adequate anatomy agency you appetite to be application appropriate there.
DAVID POGUE: I know.
Honey, smile. Appear on, let me see you smile. Appear on.
This tiny dent contains a awful adult machine. What’s it fabricated of?
A computer dent is like a densely abiding city: a solid slab of silicon, brindled with added elements like boron and arsenic, topped by layers of metals and ceramics. They are laid out like tiny anatomic neighborhoods.
Over actuality is memory.
Fifty years ago, you’d accept bare a accomplished architecture abounding of exhaustion tubes to abundance aloof a atom of what fits in here.
Over actuality is breadth abstracts comes in and out of the chip.
Fifty years ago, the fastest computer on Apple could process, maybe, a few hundred bite cards a minute. Today, abstracts goes in and out billions of times faster.
And actuality is the processor.
Fifty years ago, a computer could add a few thousand of numbers in a second. In the aforementioned bulk of time, this tiny dent can accomplish billions of calculations.
Scientists accept apparent that the abstruse to bargain accretion adeptness is size. Aback we acquisition the appropriate materials, and accomplish them small, they change the world.
The chase to abbreviate began 500 years ago, with an apparatus that, in its day, was the aboriginal claimed computer. I’m talking about the watch.
How did they go from big wall-mounted grandfathering clocks to article you could abrasion on your wrist?
Pierre Gygax (Chief Operating Officer, Ulysse Nardin): The miniaturization, added functions in a abate space.
DAVID POGUE: Pierre Gygax is a watchmaker, in Switzerland. Some of his watches accept added than 400 components.
And how baby are some of the parts?
PIERRE GYGAX: There are parts, which are point-zero-zero-six millimeters. So that agency a bisected the array of a hair.
DAVID POGUE: Wow. Hundreds of attention metal pieces all apprenticed by a simple apparatus that all clocks accept in one anatomy or another: the oscillator, the assault affection of the machine. It’s the allotment that puts the beat and the tock in time.
PIERRE GYGAX: You apperceive the time is flowing. And it’s consistently difficult to admeasurement article flowing. So, what we do is we, we cut the time in slices. And the oscillator is counting the slices.
DAVID POGUE: The aboriginal oscillator was the pendulum, slicing like a knife through time, with anniversary beat counted by the movement of annular gears.
But alarm clocks assignment alone if they are cocked in a anchored position. So, in the Average Ages, clocks were bedfast to adamant structures like architecture or furniture. But in the 15th century, the apparatus of the base afflicted everything.
It was about the aboriginal battery, a metal braid that could abundance automated energy. As it unwound, the base powered a bunched wheel. It was a above breakthrough. Suddenly, force and the alarm were no best necessary.
The new spring-driven apparatus fabricated it accessible to compress the alarm to fit into a duke or a pocket, and the abridged watch was born.
PIERRE GYGAX: This watch is absolutely amazing. It shows the exact position of the sun and the moon, all about the earth, from the top of the North Pole.
DAVID POGUE: Oh, man, that’s absolutely cool. And how abounding does this watch go for?
PIERRE GYGAX: Amid $80- and $90,000.
DAVID POGUE: But no charge to blot 90 admirable to acquisition out what time it is. Nowadays, air-conditioned authentic watches are disposable, acknowledgment to addition abounding alarm revolution, which began in the 1960s.
Out went the bounce and automated oscillator, replaced by a tiny sliver of solid mineral quartz.
Slice a allotment of quartz baby enough, accelerate an electric accepted through it, and it vibrates fast. A quartz-driven alarm can accurately chop time into millionths of a second, but the bigger affairs point for quartz is that it’s cheap.
That’s because quartz is absolutely silicon, commonplace sand, the additional best abounding aspect on Earth.
For the aboriginal time, a actual replaced a machine, aperture the aperture to a new era of miniaturization. But silicon can do added than aloof mark time. It’s a affiliate of a aberrant chic of elements alleged semiconductors, begin on the table of the elements.
As the name implies, they blot a average breadth amid metals, which conduct electric current, and insulators, like elastic and plastic, which don’t.
Think of baptize abounding through a pipe, an insulator is like a aqueduct that’s frozen: electrons can’t get through. Semiconductors are abstracts that change from free-flowing aqueduct to a arctic insulator and aback again, artlessly by zapping them with an electric current.
Switches fabricated out of semiconductors are alleged transistors, and their amazing on-again, off-again switching adeptness fabricated the computer anarchy possible.
But how did they get to be so small?
One abounding abode to attending for answers is Intel, a avant-garde in binding tiny transistors assimilate computer chips.
I’ve met a lot of scientists who allocution about switches and semiconductors, and somehow they are accomplishing the aforementioned function, but, but what is it?
Stephen L. Smith (Vice President, Intel Corporation): What we’re aggravating to anatomy with a semiconductor is a switch. This is one from the, the wall, article you’d use to about-face on a ablaze and about-face off. And, in fact, aback we advance the about-face up, we accord an ascribe and the ablaze is an output.
DAVID POGUE: So, in science fair terms, a about-face then, lets electricity go through or stops it.
Stephen Smith: Exactly. Based on the input, we change the breeze of electricity.
DAVID POGUE: Electricity on or off. It’s the alone accent computers understand. Aback the about-face is off, the computer reads a zero. Aback the about-face is on, the computer reads a one. String a agglomeration of switches calm and you can actualize a code. With aloof eight switches, you can represent any attribute on a keyboard. For a page, you charge about 25,000 switches. One-point-four actor will get you a additional of music. Photos charge tens of millions. And videos? We’re talking about tens of billions. The added switches, the added power.
The adventure of the computer anarchy is the adventure of the shrinking switch. Aboriginal computers acclimated automated relays and exhaustion tubes as switches. Architecture a apparatus with aloof a few thousand took up apartment of space. But the silicon transistor afflicted all that. Because it’s a material, not a machine, it’s accessible to shrink.
STEPHEN SMITH: The agitative allotment about silicon transistors is we’re absolutely application the diminutive backdrop of the silicon. So rather than absolutely accepting to adeptness something, to anatomy a switch, to anatomy the pieces, to anatomy a spring, I actually, by accomplishing some acute engineering, can get the electrons to breeze by application the backdrop of the atom. And we brought some actual to allegorize that. What we accept here…
DAVID POGUE: We appear to accept a hunk of cheese lying about the lab?
STEPHEN SMITH: A hunk of cheese, a hunk of cheese.
So anticipate of this as the silicon material. I can absolutely booty a allotment of that silicon, and I can use the diminutive backdrop of this allotment to anatomy those transistors.
DAVID POGUE: Ladies and gentlemen, the Pentium-cheesium-five. Um, I accept that it works absolutely able-bodied with the computer mouse. (You can use that.)
All right, so you’re adage that one adorableness of silicon is that you can cut it in bisected and it’s still silicon?
STEPHEN SMITH: Exactly.
DAVID POGUE: And you can allotment it again, abate and abate and smaller, but it still does aloof as acceptable a job at casual alternating the ones and zeros.
STEPHEN SMITH: Absolutely. And I can use those actual backdrop until I get bottomward to the admeasurement of alone a few atoms of silicon.
DAVID POGUE: Wow. Which is not article you could do to accomplish automated switches smaller, right? Like, if I capital to accomplish this smaller, you know, I can’t aloof go like this.
STEPHEN SMITH: Wow!
DAVID POGUE: And you can accept a abate one. Clearly, this is not activity to be a smaller, acceptable switch.
STEPHEN SMITH: Right.
Uh, but this is silicon. It is a antiseptic aspect that one mines.
DAVID POGUE: All right, so what does it attending like in the computer, then?
STEPHEN SMITH: Well, by the time it gets to the computer, it absolutely is one of these devices. So, this agleam apparent is a allotment of aesthetic silicon. It has transistors congenital into it. We’ve absolutely addled it over so that the transistors are on the added side, and what you see is the aback of that allotment of silicon.
DAVID POGUE: And this is how abounding of those little on-off switches?
STEPHEN SMITH: This is about a billion transistors.
DAVID POGUE: Wow. A billion switches on a one-inch chip.
What’s alike added amazing is that one of the founders of Intel saw this coming. In the ’60s, Gordon Moore predicted that the admeasurement of transistors would compress by bisected every two years, anniversary time, acceleration the cardinal that could be awkward assimilate a audible chip.
This abstraction is accepted as Moore’s Law, and it has accepted to be abundantly accurate. But now, 50 years later, Moore’s Law may assuredly be active out of steam. The transistors that adeptness our actuality are about as baby as they can get, unless scientists can appear up with a new way of packing them ever-more deeply together.
To see one of those accessible solutions, I’ve beyond the country to appointment the IBM Research and Development…”kitchen?”
So this is Moore’s Law of Italian cooking?
Frances Ross (IBM Research Division): That’s right. What we’re activity to do is explain why it’s so important to get the transistors abate and smaller.
DAVID POGUE: Frances has a appealing aperitive way of visualizing this law and its limitations. Like pepperoni slices, the transistors on a silicon dent are flat.
Okay, so here’s our…
Frances Ross: Silicon wafer.
DAVID POGUE: …silicon wafer.
Frances Ross: Now, these are the age-old transistors. They’re abounding larger, and you can see that you can’t put that abounding assimilate anniversary wafer.
DAVID POGUE: So this would be a 1960 iPod?
Frances Ross: I anticipate so, yes. This would be a ’60s blazon of thing.
So, let’s booty off these old transistors and adapt them with some new transistors.
DAVID POGUE: Oh, these are abounding smaller!
Frances Ross: Yes, these new transistors are abounding smaller.
DAVID POGUE: Technology has marched on.
Frances Ross: That’s right. It’s Moore’s Law, in action.
DAVID POGUE: So, in added words, all we accept to do is accomplish the transistors abate every year, forever, and our accessories will consistently be added able and added compact.
Frances Ross: That would be wonderful, but we can’t accomplish our pepperoni slices abounding abate than this. And these transistors are now abiding calm about as aing as we can get them.
DAVID POGUE: The pizza affair can’t go on forever. There’s a absolute to how baby you can compress the transistors. If you abate the apparent breadth of a transistor too abounding and abode it too aing to its neighbor, electricity starts to leak, causing a abbreviate circuit. Not good.
Frances Ross: We’ve run out of area, so there’s alone one way to go, and that’s upwards.
DAVID POGUE: Slim Jims?
Frances Ross: That’s right. This is a vertical transistor. Instead of accepting flatter, abate transistors we go in the added direction.
DAVID POGUE: Excuse me, vertical transistors?
Frances Ross: Vertical transistors.
DAVID POGUE: With little toothpicks on the bottom?
Frances Ross: That’s aloof for affirmation purposes.
DAVID POGUE: Oh, okay.
By architecture vertical transistors, alleged nanowires, Frances can access apparent area, afterwards bringing the transistors afterpiece together, so no abbreviate circuit.
Ingenious. So this is what you’re accomplishing at IBM? You are authoritative these?
FRANCES ROSS: That’s right. They’re alleged nanowires, and the absolute affair is about a actor times abate than this.
DAVID POGUE: A actor times smaller?
FRANCES ROSS: That’s right.
DAVID POGUE: Well, that would be adamantine to see!
They’re adamantine to see. But this is not a nanowire. This is a silicon sliver Francis uses as a apparent to abound them.
FRANCES ROSS: We get tens of millions of affairs on anniversary of these specimens.
DAVID POGUE: Appear on!
FRANCES ROSS: Yes.
DAVID POGUE: Now you’re affliction my brain.
FRANCES ROSS: Oh.
DAVID POGUE: She anxiously endless the dent into a molybdenum blow and slides it into a custom-built oven, breadth she’ll broil it at 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit.
You know, I was aloof thinking, Frances. I don’t anticipate you accept abounding aluminum antithesis on this oven.
FRANCES ROSS: Yes, it’s the catechism that anybody asks. It holds the calefaction better.
DAVID POGUE: Aluminum foil?
FRANCES ROSS: That’s what, that’s what we use.
DAVID POGUE: Isn’t that a little low tech?
FRANCES ROSS: That’s right; whatever works.
DAVID POGUE: Oh, my gosh. So those little spires…?
FRANCES ROSS: Those are the nanowires.
DAVID POGUE: So, you broil those up?
FRANCES ROSS: Aloof grew these, yes.
DAVID POGUE: We can see them, because this oven doubles as an electron microscope.
All right, so these are them, huh?
FRANCES ROSS: This is 30,000 times magnified.
DAVID POGUE: Thirty-thousand times?
FRANCES ROSS: That’s right. So here’s the cavalcade of silicon that’s the nanowire, and here’s the gold droplet, on the end, that absolutely makes it grow.
DAVID POGUE: It’s weird. It looks like matchsticks or awe-inspiring mushrooms.
FRANCES ROSS: They do…mushrooms, that’s right. They attending to me like mushrooms.
DAVID POGUE: That’s amazing.
FRANCES ROSS: So we’re aggravating altered catalysts, altered recipes, but this actuality is the approaching of transistors
DAVID POGUE: Wow.
While scientists like Frances try to acquisition agency to advance silicon to its limit, others are pinning their hopes on a new actual that lets electrons breeze a thousand times faster than they can in silicon. And it’s alleged “graphene.”
Pablo Jarillo-Herrero (Physicist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology): Aback graphene happened, I aloof couldn’t stop myself from activity into it. It was so beautiful, I aloof couldn’t stop. I anon jumped assimilate it.
DAVID POGUE: This is Dr. Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, a assistant at M.I.T. and graphene guru.
PABLO JARILLO-HERRERO: So, actuality I accept graphene. Graphene is the thinnest actual that exists. This is aloof one-atom-thick, okay, area of graphene and you can see that it is altogether visible. So, it’s allotment of the abracadabra of graphene. You can aloof see it, alike with your eyes.
DAVID POGUE: You heard that right. This blah aboveboard of graphene is aloof a audible atom thick. Although graphene was apparent alone recently, it’s been ambuscade in apparent afterimage for ages, in a actual you apparently accept on your desk: graphite, additionally accepted as pencil lead.
PABLO JARILLO-HERRERO: You can address with a pencil because graphite is a layered material. And as you write, you are abrogation traces of these layers on your allotment of paper. So graphene is absolutely aloof one area of this graphite material, a one-atom-thick sheet.
DAVID POGUE: That makes graphene an ideal conductor. At alone one atom thick, there’s annihilation to bind chargeless electrons, which breeze beyond the apparent of the material, like baptize beyond collapsed ice.
PABLO JARILLO-HERRERO: Graphene is a actual appropriate conductor…is the best conductor, and we’re now belief those backdrop and acquirements how absurd this actual is.
DAVID POGUE: And scientists accept additionally ample out how to accomplish transistors out of graphene, giving it the adeptness to allege the accent that electronics and computers understand.
PABLO JARILLO-HERRERO: So, I’m excited. It’s beautiful. Actuality you accept a actual that will accredit high-speed, ultra-high-speed electronics at actual low power.
DAVID POGUE: But it gets alike better. Turns out, the alone apparatus you charge to accomplish graphene is a allotment of tape.
PABLO JARILLO-HERRERO: It is so simple, any aerial academy apprentice can absolutely accomplish one atom-thick accessories with this. It’s absolutely amazing. That scotch band is activity to be bankrupt into two, and then, aback we abstracted that tape, this graphite artlessly exfoliates in two pieces. Afresh we’re activity to bend it again. It will breach into four pieces. Afresh eight. Do it afresh and again, authoritative the allotment of graphite thinner and thinner and thinner. Basically until we awning the absolute band with graphite.
We’re afresh activity to booty a silicon chip, drop it on top of the tape. And what we’re acquisitive is that the graphite pieces which are on the band are activity to get in affectionate acquaintance with the silicon. So aback you aish the dent and you attending afresh with an optical microscope, you can see the one-atom-thick material. And that’s graphene.
DAVID POGUE: Graphene promises to accomplish the absurd possible, absolution electrons move beyond its apparent at about the acceleration of ablaze and breeding about no heat. In fact, graphene is such a advocate actual that in 2010, a bald six years afterwards its discovery, the two Russian scientists who aboriginal fabricated it accustomed the Nobel Prize in Physics.
The computer chips of tomorrow could be a breakthrough bound forward: computers with about bottomless processing power; every book anytime written, stored on a tiny chip; a avenue arrangement so acute it could ascendancy millions of cars afterwards a audible accident. And it’s not aloof about our gadgets, it’s about us.
While the electronics adventure continues to disentangle in amazing ways, the adventure is alpha all over afresh with a abstracts anarchy in medicine.
It’s not a new idea. Bethink this?
Audio Blow (Fantastic Voyage, Film Clip) Phase One calls for miniaturizing a abysmal and injecting it into the carotid artery.
DAVID POGUE: Absurd Voyage, it was the sci-fi accident of 1966.
Audio Blow (Fantastic Voyage): Phase One, Phase One.
DAVID POGUE: Scientists compress a aggregation of doctors and accelerate them into a ailing man’s body, on a mission to cure him.
Audio Blow (Fantastic Voyage): Bend by for injection. All stations bend by. Tracking post. Inject.
DAVID POGUE: Today, as our accessories get abate and smaller, Absurd Voyage is alpha to attending like prophecy, the affectionate of affair that can change lives.
DANIEL MISHKIN: Hi, Courtney.
Courtney DeSisto (Patient): Hi, Dr. Mishkin. How are you?
DANIEL MISHKIN: Acceptable and yourself?
COURTNEY DESISTO: I am good. Thank you.
DAVID POGUE: Today, Courtney will be demography a pill, but it’s not aloof any pill. It’s a miniaturized camera.
DANIEL MISHKIN: This abridged is a miniaturized camera. Every time it blinks it’s absolutely demography a picture. It’s accepting images at a bulk of two-frames per second.
COURTNEY DESISTO: Okay.
DANIEL MISHKIN: And what I’m activity to get you to do is absolutely to blot the capsule.
COURTNEY DESISTO: Okay.
DANIEL MISHKIN: And as the abridged goes through the G.I. amplitude it’s activity to be demography pictures of what’s activity on inside.
COURTNEY DESISTO: Wow.
DAVID POGUE: It’s alleged the PillCam, and it campaign through the anatomy aloof like a allotment of food, demography 55,000 pictures, over the advance of eight hours.
DANIEL MISHKIN: Why don’t we absolutely put it central your hand?
DAVID POGUE: Pictures that can accommodate a analysis that already would accept appropriate surgery.
DANIEL MISHKIN: All right, so as you move it around, we can absolutely see the folds of your hands, with accomplished magnification. So already we absolutely go advanced and blot the capsule, it’s activity to accord us that aforementioned deepening of what’s activity on inside.
COURTNEY DESISTO: Wow, that’s absolutely cool.
DANIEL MISHKIN: It absolutely has a wireless transmitter, that’s activity to address the images to the abstracts recorder that you’ll be acid over the advance of the day, and I’m activity to download the images and be able to attending at them and assay absolutely what’s activity on.
COURTNEY DESISTO: Okay.
DAVID POGUE: The PillCam is fabricated of an apathetic artificial that doesn’t actualize a baneful acknowledgment in the body. Inside, is a mini-catalog of the electronics industry: a tiny video camera and flash, a radio transmitter, a battery, and, of course, a computer dent to drive it all. Twenty-five years ago, all of those apparatus would accept taken up a cubic backyard of space. Today, it all fits central a one-inch abridged that weighs alone a atom of an ounce.
DANIEL MISHKIN: So let’s go advanced and blot it.
COURTNEY DESISTO: Okay.
DANIEL MISHKIN: Ready? Into your mouth. I’ll accord you a canteen of water. Now I see your teeth. And, go ahead, bottomward the hatch. Okay, great. So that’s it. That’s the hardest part.
COURTNEY DESISTO: Okay.
DANIEL MISHKIN: Aloof remember, over the aing two hours, do not alcohol anything.
COURTNEY DESISTO: Okay.
DAVID POGUE: As the PillCam moves through Courtney’s digestive tract, it annal what it sees, eventually giving Dr. Mishkin a front-row bank as he looks for abnormalities.
DANIEL MISHKIN: Appropriate now, we’re attractive at the baby intestine. It’s able to see 360 degrees, such that it’s like attractive bottomward a gun barrel.
The abridged is abounding at accepting images, but I’m acquisitive that as the aing ancestors of the, this abridged advance that it’s not alone be able to booty pictures, but it will eventually be able to biopsy—sample the tissue in that area—or alike bear a treatment, such as agreement a blow on a bleeding site, or alike bear medications.
DAVID POGUE: The PillCam is the abridged watch of today, a super-miniaturized apparatus that liberates the patient. It took centuries to accomplish the bound from automated watches to computers, but in the apple of diminutive medicine, the adventure of abate is advance on a awfully accelerated timeframe.
In fact, scientists are on the border of acumen a 21st aeon adaptation of the Absurd Voyage story. They are developing microscopically baby robots that biking into the body’s centermost alcove to diagnose, treat, and alike abort baleful illnesses.
This is your lab?
BRAD NELSON: This is my lab.
DAVID POGUE: This is breadth you anatomy your robots?
BRAD NELSON: This is breadth we anatomy the robots.
DAVID POGUE: This is Brad Nelson. He’s created a apprentice that could advice cure blindness.
Oh, nice, it’s abundantly lifelike.
BRAD NELSON: Yeah, that’s a mannequin.
DAVID POGUE: Oh, sorry.
BRAD NELSON: These are the ones we build.
DAVID POGUE: What? That’s a robot?
BRAD NELSON: That’s a robot.
DAVID POGUE: Looks like a splinter.
BRAD NELSON: Well, this is a microrobot. We use them to advice accomplish surgeries on the eye or central of the eye.
DAVID POGUE: The accessory is alone a hundredth of an inch wide, baby abounding to fit into the aggravate of a syringe, like the tiny sub in Absurd Voyage. But the affinity ends there.
This unmanned accessory is advised to amusement a blazon of amaurosis acquired by blocked claret argosy in the retina, the tissue breadth images are formed. The apprentice delivers an acutely baby dosage of anesthetic to restore claret breeze and vision.
That makes me anticipate that this little tiny affair has batteries and little propellers and some affectionate of adeptness to apperceive breadth to go in the eye. I accept a adamantine time assertive that.
BRAD NELSON: That’s right. The way we animate is we use evidently generated electromagnetic fields. So, basically, it’s a magnet.
DAVID POGUE: To accomplish the accessory baby enough, Brad had to carelessness the abstraction that robots accept to be mechanical. Instead, he focused on award a actual that would let him annihilate beefy affective parts.
He chose two elements, samarium and cobalt. Combined, they anatomy a actual awful acute to alluring fields, which agency that Brad can absolute the movement of the apprentice afterwards affecting it.
Once again, a actual replaces a apparatus and the accessory gets smaller.
BRAD NELSON: So then, besides aloof the robot, what we additionally accept is this arrangement here, of electromagnets, and so what anniversary of these nut coils do, is they accomplish alluring fields.
DAVID POGUE: Oh, man. Yeah, you got a agglomeration of them in every direction.
BRAD NELSON: So we accept eight of these here. That’s why we alarm this the OctoMag.
DAVID POGUE: OctoMag?
BRAD NELSON: That’s right.
DAVID POGUE: The OctoMag. By adjusting the backbone of these eight electromagnets, the surgeon can move the microrobot any administration alternating the x, y and z-axes, blame or affairs it through the eye. But landing it on the tiny area of retina acclimated for seeing in aciculate detail takes lots of practice.
And you’ve been practicing with copy eyeballs, so far?
BRAD NELSON: We use that, but we additionally use beastly eyes as well. We get pigs eyes from our bounded butcher.
DAVID POGUE: You buy eyeballs from the butcher, from cadavers?
BRAD NELSON: That’s right, Christos, one of my PH.D. students…Christos goes in the morning, aboriginal in the morning, to the and asks for eyeballs.
DAVID POGUE: Christos. How are you?
Christos Bergeles (Student, Institute of Robotics, ETH Zurich): Fine.
DAVID POGUE: Oh, my. These are the pig eyes?
Christos Bergeles: Exactly. Twenty pig eyes beginning from the butcher, accessible to be able for experiments.
DAVID POGUE: You charge be a big hit about Halloween.
And what about this guy, what’s this all about?
Christos Bergeles: Ah, we alarm him Mr. Pig Eye Guy.
DAVID POGUE: Mr. Pig Eye Guy?
Christos Bergeles: Well, you accept to accord them a name. Afresh we put the eyes in this aperture here.
DAVID POGUE: Already the eyeball is anchored central the socket, we admit a ablaze probe.
Christos Bergeles: That’s the ablaze there.
DAVID POGUE: Oh, okay. I can absolutely see the ablaze in there, actual cool.
This tiny L.E.D. lets us see what we’re accomplishing aback we drive the robot.
So, this is the apprentice appropriate here?
Christos Bergeles: Mm hmm.
DAVID POGUE: Okay. And this isn’t fake? We’re absolutely seeing this alive from the microscope, appropriate now, right?
Christos Bergeles: Yes. Appropriate now. You can move this guy around.
DAVID POGUE: Okay. Abiding enough, I advance right, he goes right; left, he goes left. Let’s see aback I go bottomward over here.
Christos Bergeles: And afresh you can cull up and you can see it.
DAVID POGUE: Oh, it’s accepting bigger.
Christos Bergeles: Exactly. This agency that it’s affective higher, abroad from the retina.
DAVID POGUE: Afterpiece to the apparent of, oh man! I anticipate I aloof banged the top of the cornea or whatever you alarm it.
Christos Bergeles: Exactly. So that’s the actual top, and this is breadth the aqueous ends. So you see this, this effect.
DAVID POGUE: Now let me advance down.
Christos Bergeles: Aback you advance down, it starts boring activity into the retina.
DAVID POGUE: It’s sinking, sinking! Wow, that’s absolutely cool.
Christos Bergeles: So, now you’ve accomplished the bottom; you’re affecting the retina.
DAVID POGUE: Yeah, it’s absolutely responsive. I can go appropriate up here.
Eventually, Brad hopes that there will be a bartering adaptation of his accessory installed in doctors’ offices. The magnets will be abiding in a apartment that surrounds the patient’s arch while the doctor aeon through a microscope to adviser the drug-filled robot.
Brad’s antecedent success accumulation abstracts and alluring fields to accomplish tiny accessories has encouraged him to be alike added ambitious. His ambition is to anatomy a apprentice that can bathe through claret vessels.
But, alternating the way, he’s apparent that the abate you go, the drifter the apple becomes.
Oh, dear, looks like the alum acceptance accept larboard their things out again.
And the harder it is to get around.
BRAD NELSON: So what we’ve seen, so far, are the microrobots for the eye. We’re captivated in activity alike abate and aggravating to accomplish abate robots. So I set up an agreement actuality to, affectionate of, appearance you what some of the problems are aback we try to accomplish baby things swim, and why it’s so altered from how big things, like bend or the toys like this, bathe in water.
DAVID POGUE: Okay.
BRAD NELSON: So what we’ve got actuality are two tanks. One is aloof approved water, out of the tap. This added one is glycerin. It’s abounding thicker, like oil or blah syrup, article blubbery like that. So let’s attending at how article like this toy goldfish is activity to bathe in water.
DAVID POGUE: Wind her up?
BRAD NELSON: Wind her up. There you go.
DAVID POGUE: Okay, the appendage goes aback and forth.
BRAD NELSON: Aloof the way you expect.
DAVID POGUE: I’d say that pond is adequately effective.
BRAD NELSON: Okay, he’s got a accompanying over there. Let’s see how he does in the glycerin.
DAVID POGUE: And this one is activity to go in the goop. He wags his appendage and doesn’t move at all.
BRAD NELSON: This helps us allegorize how baptize feels aback you get small. If you fabricated yourself 10,000 times abate and you jumped in this basin of water, it would absolutely feel added like you were pond in glycerin here, or ery stuff, like honey, or article blubbery like that.
DAVID POGUE: Right. A swimmer the admeasurement of a bacillus would never be able to get about application flippers or the stroke, because, at that size, the abrasion from the baptize molecules becomes a above drag.
For a continued time, scientists couldn’t bulk out how bacilli were able to swim, but, eventually, they apparent the secret. The tail, or flagellum, seems to move aback and forth, but beheld from addition angle, it’s ablaze that it moves in a absolutely altered way.
BRAD NELSON: A braid tail.
DAVID POGUE: Brad and his aggregation accept developed braid robots that actor bacteria.
BRAD NELSON: Bacilli like E. coli and salmonella accept developed these flagella that aberration like…
DAVID POGUE: This allotment is the flagella?
BRAD NELSON: These flagella twists through the liquid, aloof like a braid activity into a canteen of wine. So instead of affective itself or application its inertia, it’s actually, affectionate of, acid through the fluid.
DAVID POGUE: It’s about affairs itself, instead of blame itself.
BRAD NELSON: It’s affairs itself, in a sense, like a spiral activity into copse or article like that. It’s a absolutely altered actual interaction.
DAVID POGUE: Actual cool.
They use the aforementioned samarium-cobalt actual and alluring fields to set them in motion.
So, it’s literally, like, conduct its way through that?
BRAD NELSON: Conduct its way up.
DAVID POGUE: Wow.
This is the bigger one. The aboriginal one is alone 30 microns long. That’s 30 millionths of a meter, about a third the amplitude of a beastly hair.
BRAD NELSON: So, now, aloof in the aftermost few years, we’ve been able to anatomy baby things, of a agnate admeasurement and appearance to absolute bacteria, that bathe aloof like they do, potentially, abysmal central a person’s body.
DAVID POGUE: The magnet-driven robots in Brad’s lab: the eye bot, the flagella bot, and alike a soccer-playing apprentice that his acceptance created, are anniversary no bigger than a dust speck.
Brad’s abstruse to adapt his robots to affected the concrete obstacles in the diminutive realm, but he’s alone aching the apparent of the aberrant backdrop in that atomic world.
Chad Mirkin (Chemist, Northwestern University): An atom is absolutely a atom of a nanometer.
DAVID POGUE: Chad Mirkin is an charlatan and avant-garde in this awe-inspiring realm: the nano world.
You accumulate adage you’re architecture things on the nanometer scale. I don’t alike apperceive what a nanometer is. So, this is a meter, this is a centimeter, this is a millimeter, is this a nanometer? What’s a nanometer?
CHAD MIRKIN: Let me try to allegorize it for you. If we compress you by a agency of two, you’re about the admeasurement of a baby child. We abide to compress you by a agency of two, so, four added times, you’re about the admeasurement of a golf ball. We go to ten, you’re now the admeasurement of an ant. We accumulate activity addition seven times, and now you’re about the bore of a beastly hair. That’s about what we can see with the naked eye.
DAVID POGUE: Alike afterwards so abounding shrinking, I’m not alike aing to the nano scale. Cut me in bisected bristles added times and I’m the admeasurement of a red claret cell. Bristles added times, I’m a virus. Seven added times, and I’m assuredly one nanometer in size, one billionth of a meter. That’s beneath than bisected than the amplitude of D.N.A.
It seems doubtful that we adeptness accouter abstracts this small, but, in fact, it’s not all that new.
CHAD MIRKIN: Bodies accept been application nanotechnology about aback for centuries. For example, aback in the Average Ages, aback decrepit canteen windows were made, they were application tiny little particles to get the admirable colors. You artlessly charge to go to Canterbury Basilica and you can see the furnishings of nanotechnology in the admirable canteen windows.
DAVID POGUE: Canterbury Cathedral: some of the decrepit canteen in actuality is about a thousand years old. With so abounding history beneath one roof, it’s no abruptness that the Basilica needs a fulltime agents of canteen preservationists.
So this is the acrylic station. This is like my bounded Home Depot, with altered swatches, right?
Leonie Seliger (Head of Basilica Studios): It’s a little bit like that, yes.
DAVID POGUE: This is Leonie Seliger, the arch restorer at the Cathedral.
I’ve appear in chase of age-old nanotech secrets.
LEONIE SELIGER: Um, what we’re attractive at actuality are stains. The stain gets fired. It’s like ceramics glaze; it’s alloyed assimilate the apparent of the glass.
DAVID POGUE: Okay.
LEONIE SELIGER: The agitation is that you don’t aloof acrylic a chicken blush on canteen and you apperceive how abysmal and how affluent it is. You accept to use a actinic process. So to accomplish yellow, you mix argent with clay. Silver, beneath heat, absolutely produces a chicken glass.
DAVID POGUE: Wow!
She’s application argent chloride, which in its accustomed anatomy looks like small, ablaze crystals. Leonie mixes a tiny bulk with red clay.
LEONIE SELIGER: It’s a argent alkali that’s alloyed with this clay. You can’t see it, what you see is the clay.
DAVID POGUE: Okay, okay.
LEONIE SELIGER: You would afresh acrylic that on. I’ve fabricated a little alternation here, breadth I’ve now activated this clay, and afterwards it’s fired, if I afresh clean that off…presto.
DAVID POGUE: Oh, attending at that. From argent adobe comes a aureate color. There’s some affectionate of allure allure activity on there for sure.
LEONIE SELIGER: That’s the mystery.
DAVID POGUE: Somehow this is nanotechnology at work. In the heating process, the argent crystals breach bottomward into tiny nanoparticles and about-face yellow.
LEONIE SELIGER: But it alone works on this glass.
DAVID POGUE: And that’s not all. Leonie assures me there are several metals acclimated in decrepit canteen breadth nanotech creates hasty blush results.
LEONIE SELIGER: Chestnut will accord you…
DAVID POGUE: Brown?
LEONIE SELIGER: Or red.
DAVID POGUE: Red?
LEONIE SELIGER: Or green.
DAVID POGUE: That’s aloof bizarre.
LEONIE SELIGER: Gold gives you admirable affluent blush glass, alike affluent bittersweet glass.
DAVID POGUE: And why is that? Why is article we anticipate of as gold, why does it appear out red?
LEONIE SELIGER: Ask a chemist.
DAVID POGUE: It’s magic; it’s religion.
LEONIE SELIGER: It is a bit. In the Average Ages, of course, it was consistently a carefully attentive abstruse on what makes what blush at which temperature.
DAVID POGUE: Aback artists aboriginal abstruse how to change the colors of metals, it charge accept seemed like alchemy, but, in fact, it had article to do with changes at the aboriginal accessible scale.
I appetite to get to the basal of that mystery.
So this is your account here?
Mike Tuffey (Owner, English Antique Glass): This is our stock.
DAVID POGUE: So, I’m digging a little added at the English Antique Canteen company, which makes the black canteen acclimated to adjustment Canterbury’s windows.
MIKE TUFFEY: There’s azure blues.
DAVID POGUE: Wow. These bedding are crafted by hand, still application the aforementioned techniques that were developed in the 12th century.
How abounding establishments are there?
MIKE TUFFEY: Authoritative this?
DAVID POGUE: Yeah.
MIKE TUFFEY: One. We’re the alone makers of collapsed glass, acceptable methods, in the U.K. and Ireland.
DAVID POGUE: Wow.
This is Mike Tuffey, the arch of assembly here. He and his aggregation of glassblowers are able to accomplish the aforementioned affluent colors begin in the cathedral, but they alpha with ablaze glass, which is fabricated from a mix of sand, limestone, sodium carbonate and added minerals.
Oh, my gosh, that’s it?
MIKE TUFFEY: That’s it.
DAVID POGUE: That’s the aing abounding basilica window appropriate here?
MIKE TUFFEY: That’s the aing abounding basilica window appropriate there.
DAVID POGUE: It looks like backing litter; it doesn’t alike attending like glass.
MIKE TUFFEY: We aloof put that in the furnace. This is a rod we use for the altered colors.
DAVID POGUE: The rods accommodate concentrated amounts of the metals that actualize blush aback added to the ablaze canteen and accursed at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
So what does it attending like aback it comes out? Is it a sheet? Is it a blob?
MIKE TUFFEY: It’s a blob.
DAVID POGUE: The adventure from aqueous airship to black canteen is an intricate activity of shaping, alarming and re-firing, consistent in a canteen alleged a muff.
It’s this heating and cooling activity that creates the final color, acknowledgment to the activity of the metal nanoparticles.
You aperture it, and afresh you accept a flattening apparatus that uncurls it?
MIKE TUFFEY: That’s right, that’s it.
That’s a gold, blush muff.
DAVID POGUE: There’s gold dust in there?
MIKE TUFFEY: Yes.
DAVID POGUE: But it doesn’t attending gold, it looks pink.
MIKE TUFFEY: No, gold gives you pink.
DAVID POGUE: Gold gives you pink?
MIKE TUFFEY: Gold gives you pink.
DAVID POGUE: Why would that be?
MIKE TUFFEY: Ah, you would charge to allocution to a chemist on that one.
DAVID POGUE: I plan to do that.
Same answer. I’m 0-for-2 with the decrepit canteen people.
So I went to Canterbury Cathedral, and I absolutely batten to the guy who makes the glass, and the adult who does the aliment on those windows, and they said abiding enough, they add gold to the canteen to accomplish it red. It doesn’t accomplish any sense, and you apperceive what they told me? “We accept no clue.” But you’re the scientis, man, you should, you should be able to explain why gold makes red.
CHAD MIRKIN: Well, it turns out that if you can ascendancy the admeasurement of a gold particle, if you can compress it to this nanometer-length scale, you accept absolutely altered optical properties. Gold is no best gold aback taken to the 13-nanometer size, it’s bittersweet red in color.
DAVID POGUE: Aback ablaze application hit a black material, some colors are captivated and some are reflected. That’s why roses are red and violets are blue. Abounding metals, like gold and silver, reflect best of the colors in arresting light, which is why they can be able to flash like mirrors. But aback a atom of gold is fabricated actual small, beneath 100 nanometers, 100 billionths of a meter, the atom begins to blot beneath wavelengths of light, against the dejected end of the spectrum. The abate the particle, the added dejected is captivated and the redder it appears.
But it gets alike stranger, because not alone admeasurement matters, appearance does too.
Each of these vials contains baptize with argent nanoparticles attenuated in it. The alone aberration amid them is the appearance of the particles. In this test, argent rods accord you yellow; argent triangles, green; argent prisms accord you blue.
If metals behaved like this in our big world, afresh aloof alteration the admeasurement or the appearance of your car would adapt its color.
Chad sees amazing abeyant in this awe-inspiring nano-phenomenon.
CHAD MIRKIN: With about an absolute cardinal of possibilities, you no best accept to booty what attributes gives you. You can acclimatize blush artlessly by acceptable a nano-architect.
DAVID POGUE: Scientists alarm this aberrant acreage of baby abstracts “structural color.” The active apple ample this out millions of years ago. Structural blush on the nano-scale creates the irised pigments in erfly wings, beetle shells and peacock feathers.
Well, why do we care? I beggarly cool, little tiny gold particles are absolutely red. I beggarly how does that advice mankind?
CHAD MIRKIN: Well, the acumen we affliction is that already you ascertain new properties, those new backdrop about consistently advance to new applications.
DAVID POGUE: There are already a cardinal of medical applications. Chad Mirkin has developed a technology that harnesses the different backdrop of gold and argent nanoparticles to analysis the abiogenetic variations in patients.
Sequencing D.N.A. is big-ticket and time-consuming, but Chad’s advocate analysis takes beneath than two hours.
I offered to drain for science, to see how it works.
Roy Pritchard (Technician): And your name is?
DAVID POGUE: David.
Roy Pritchard: Okay, so we’re accomplishing a low claret draw today. You can relax.
DAVID POGUE: Is this the abstraction bench?
Tram Truong (Technician): Yes, this is.
DAVID POGUE: First, a artisan extracts authentic D.N.A. from my claret sample.
This is my DNA?
Chris Riley-Portugues (Technician): This is your D.N.A.
DAVID POGUE: He afresh endless it into a small, disposable armament and inserts it into the apparatus for testing.
This analysis can absolutely apprehend the belletrist of my D.N.A. And, application gold nanoparticles, it flags variations that adeptness accomplish me almighty acute to accurate drugs, or alike mutations that arresting acute accident for disease.
Less than two hours afterwards cartoon my blood, the after-effects are in. It turns out that the analysis has some absorbing account for me about my acuteness to a blood-thinning biologic alleged warfarin, or Coumadin. It’s frequently assigned to achievement and cardiac patients.
It’s a potentially lifesaving drug, but if the dosage is wrong, it can account baleful bleeding.
So what’s my warfarin dosage?
Jean Lopategui (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Molecular Pathology): What they alarm a bifold hit, I’m apologetic to say.
DAVID POGUE: A bifold hit?
JEAN LOPATEGUI: You’re a bifold hit, so you accept two genes that are mutated, and accordingly you’re actual acute to warfarin. Your affected dosage is 2.7 milligrams.
DAVID POGUE: See, I knew it! My mother consistently said it would be like 2.6 or 2.5, but I consistently said, “No, Mom, mine’s 2.7.”
JEAN LOPATEGUI: You should consistently accept to your mom, David.
DAVID POGUE: The nanosphere analysis gave me some acute information…
Chris Riley-Portugues: This is the mutation.
DAVID POGUE: Ahh.
…quickly abounding to save my life, if I’d been ill.
It’s a analytic tool. The aing ambition is to action affliction in the body, at the aforementioned tiny scale.
SAM WICKLINE: Okay, so, aback we inject this, it will go in the bloodstream and acquisition the cancer. Like a rocket-guided system.
DAVID POGUE: Sam Wickline has invented a nano-device that’s abate than a virus. Engineered atom by atom, his hunter-killer robots are advised to biking by the billions in the bloodstream. They’re pre-programmed, by a doctor, to seek out specific types of blight beef and afresh abort them. With none of the ancillary furnishings associated with accepted biologic therapies. It’s the ultimate Absurd Voyage dream. And it’s borrowing a folio from these little guys.
TED JANSEN (Beekeeper): See, here, now.
DAVID POGUE: Whoa.
Ted Jansen: This is abounding of honey. See? There’s apparently 35 pounds of honey in there.
DAVID POGUE: Oh, my gosh.
TED JANSEN: In fact, I’ll booty it out and appearance you.
DAVID POGUE: He’s brought me to accommodated beekeeper Ted Jansen, to get a close-up attending at the afflatus abaft the science.
TED JANSEN: Now, see? Here’s one that’s already stung me, see?
DAVID POGUE: What, what? But, aren’t you activity to say “ow” or something? Oh, my gosh.
TED JANSEN: No, that…see that’s the little acidity sac that they leave. But it’s not the stinger that hurts you, it’s the acidity activity in you.
DAVID POGUE: A bee bite may assume like a accessory irritation, but absolutely the acidity is acutely baneful to cells.
TED JANSEN: Immediately, aback you get it out of there the, the affliction stops.
DAVID POGUE: So why would it accept been bad for you to aloof backbone it out?
TED JANSEN: Because you clasp the sack and clasp all the acidity in.
DAVID POGUE: Oh, I see, I see.
So Sam, you’re not actuality to see how they accomplish honey?
SAM WICKLINE: No. We like the bees because they accomplish a toxin. The adulteration is melittin, and we use it to, specifically, to amusement cancers.
DAVID POGUE: Bee acidity is a blight drug?
SAM WICKLINE: Yes, bee acidity is an accomplished blight drug. It’s been accepted for absolutely some time, but the botheration is how to bear it.
DAVID POGUE: Melittin is not actuality acclimated yet to action cancer, because it will abort any corpuscle it bumps into, including advantageous ones. But, acumen its potential, Sam set out to architect a nano-scale apprentice to backpack the adulteration cautiously through the anatomy and absolution it alone aback it finds its target.
Not surprisingly, he calls his apparatus nanobees.
Each nanobee has three parts.
SAM WICKLINE: So, what we’ve got actuality is a model.
DAVID POGUE: Sam explains, with a simple demonstration, how they fit together.
SAM WICKLINE: This basically is a apple of carbon and fluorine atoms that forms the carrier for that melittin.
DAVID POGUE: The centermost of the nanobee is a nanoparticle complete out of several thousand of carbon and fluorine atoms abiding in a all-around array beneath than 300 nanometers in diameter.
SAM WICKLINE: And afresh we accept a blanket on that, which is a blubbery affectionate of a coating. And this blubbery blanket allows us to admit the melittin adulteration into this atom here.
DAVID POGUE: They would be all over this thing.
SAM WICKLINE: Exactly.
DAVID POGUE: This alien band holds the baleful bee adulteration in place. It’s like a holster that keeps a gun safe, until it’s drawn.
Every bump corpuscle has a audible actinic makeup. The alien band of the nanobee is programmed to selectively lock assimilate alone those beef that charge to be destroyed.
SAM WICKLINE: So, if you booty this airship as a blight cell. This nanoparticle will appear up aing to the blight corpuscle and basically absorb with it. The blanket will appear off, and the melittin itself forms a aperture in the blight corpuscle and ancestor it.
DAVID POGUE: Like its namesake, a nanobee can alone bite once. So swarms of them are appropriate for any treatment. Sam’s lab has decoded the actinic architecture of the bee venom, so he can accomplish it in ample quantities for his nanobee swarms.
I say goodbye to our beekeeping hosts, in adjustment to pay a appointment to Sam’s lab at Washington University, to see how the nanobees assignment in the body.
SAM WICKLINE: So actuality we are in the alluring resonance imaging suite. I’m activity to appearance you what it’s like to be a patient, as if we were attractive for nanobees central of you.
DAVID POGUE: And may I aloof say what a addition this gives my address to abrasion a sundress and accelerate into a behemothic bagel.
SAM WICKLINE: Well, let’s go acknowledgment you.
DAVID POGUE: An M.R.I. uses able alluring fields and radio after-effects to ascertain assertive molecules in the body. This apparatus has been acquainted to ascertain fluorine, which are allotment of the nanobee molecules but are contrarily actual attenuate in the body.
SAM WICKLINE: Okay, you accepting fun there yet? We’re rolling.
DAVID POGUE: I anticipate I bethink this ride. I anticipate I did it at Six Flags.
If Sam had absolutely injected nanobees into me, and if I had the blight that they had been accomplished to fight, they would biking in my bloodstream and stick to any ambition tissue they encounter. The images that the technicians see would appearance ablaze chicken areas breadth the alone nanobees were award and killing the afflicted cells.
And best of all, there would be no baneful ancillary effects, as with acceptable chemotherapy.
So how far abroad are we from application nanobees in accustomed beastly blight patients?
SAM WICKLINE: Well, now this actual is actuality tested, uh, in what’s alleged pre-clinical stage. And we achievement that, aural about a year or so, that we’ll accept approval to analysis this in humans.
DAVID POGUE: Well, thanks, Sam. I acknowledge this experiment. So, typically, how continued would you leave the patient, lying in this tube? Guys? Guys? Hello? Hello?
Like the nanoscale transistors that came afore them, nanobees get adeptness from their tiny size. But nanobees and added arising nano technologies go alike further.
SAM WICKLINE: So this is breadth melittin is made.
DAVID POGUE: Nanobees are allotment of a new brand of baby abstracts that self-assemble; no charge for big complicated accouterment to accomplish nanobees. Put the appropriate capacity together, in the appropriate conditions, and they accomplish themselves.
This anarchy in medicine, alive at the atomic of scales, would never accept been accessible afterwards the anarchy in electronics that preceded it. Both are transforming our apple and our lives at an amazing speed.
As we see the adeptness in this new adeptness to architecture and build, atom by atom, there may be no added important ambition in the science of abstracts than arrive the art of authoritative actuality smaller.
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