Diagram tracking the movement of gears turned by the bacteria (Image: Igor Aronson/Argonne National Laboratory)
Silhouettes of several gear designs that could be turned by Bacillus subtilis bacteria (Image: Igor Aronson/Argonne National Laboratory)
Researchers have discovered that common bacteria suspended in a solution can be made to turn microgears. This opens up the possibility of building hybrid biological machines at the microscopic scale. The researchers say the discovery demonstrates how microscopic swimming agents, such as bacteria or man-made nanorobots, in combination with hard materials, can constitute a "smart material", which can dynamically alter its microstructures, repair damage, or power microdevices.
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