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New micromotor enslaves bacteria for micro power


So, it's not going to power your car anytime soon, but a new micromotor developed by Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology could have all sorts of potential other than lugging our lazy asses around town. The new motor measures a mere 20-microns in diameter, with 6 blades that each have a foot sitting in a 0.5-micron deep groove sketched in silicon. The groove and the feet are treated with some proteins that cause bacteria in the trench to move in a certain direction -- horse and carrot style. Researchers are banking on the tech to power microdevices of the future, including micromachines and miniature pumps for medical purposes. We're just proud to be members of a human race that has brought even micron-sized bacteria under its iron rule.

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