Image Created by
Campbell Strong, Shawn Douglas & Gaël McGill
In discovering the world, we constantly zoom in, pushing the microscope closer, always seeking to unlock a new layer that constructs our world. We’ve become more attuned to the complexities. The human body is such a complexity. Individual cells within the entire construct can cause ravage. How do we fix a complexitiy so small? At the Wyss Institute in Harvard, researchers are creating little robots, weaved out of DNA, small enough to solve such problems.
Created by John Douglas and Ido Barechet, these miniscule robots can be used to cure different types of cancers, containing a payload that unleashes on a specific cluster of cells. In action, a small robot opens its contents when its lock interacts with its assigned key: a unique protein found on the targeted cell. The double helix latches onto the protein and as the cylindrical structure opens, it spills its contents onto the target. It’s mechanism is akin to a combination lock. Because of its formation, robots like these could be programmed with different cells in mind. In testing, there was almost no collateral damage to other non-targeted cells.
Robots like this, built out of organic material, could be utilized beyond medicine, anywhere an electronic device is just too big to travel.