Researchers at the University of Manchester have created a nanorobot designed to completed basic chemical tasks including building molecules, according to a Mancunion report.
The robot is a millionth of a millimeter in size, according to a report, and operates through the use of a tiny robotic arm which can be programmed to carry out chemical reactions in specific solutions.
“Our robot is literally a molecular robot constructed of atoms like you can build a very simple robot out of Lego bricks. The robot responds to a series of simple commands that are programmed with chemical inputs by a scientist,” lead researcher David Leigh of the University of Manchester said.
The robot’s design involves using a robotic arm between 2 platform sites which are organocatalysts of different chirality to enable successive chemical reactions, according to the report. The robot can be programmed to produce each isomer of a product by controlling the switch-state prior to the reaction of the substrate.
“It is like the way robots are used on a car assembly line. Those robots pick up a panel and position it so that it can be riveted in the correct way to build the bodywork of a car. So, just like the robot in the factory, our molecular version can be programmed to position and rivet components in different ways to build different products, just on a much smaller scale at a molecular level,” Leigh said according to the report.
Researchers are hopeful that the system will be usable for every day use and basic laboratory processes to speed up workloads.