18 Apr ’14
Scientists have created robots on the nano-scale that they have implanted in cockroaches, effectively turning them into living computers. Yes, you read that correctly. These miniscule entities are made of DNA and are able to perform the same kind of logic operations as a silicon-based computer. Known as “origami robots”, they work by folding and unfolding strands of DNA, interacting with each other and the insect’s cells.
Daniel Levner, a bioengineer at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, says these DNA nanorobots, “could potentially carry out complex programs that could one day be used to diagnose or treat diseases with unprecedented sophistication.”
It has been often argued and debated as to where medicine will go in the future. We are now tinkering with abilities that seemed only possible in science fiction films not long ago. This very new biotechnology has had the ability to increase a single cockroach’s computing power to something that would be the equivalent of a Commodore 64 or Atari 800. Imagine where we could take this with humans, alongside with the exponential increase in computing power. This could be predominantly thrilling for cancer treatments, considering the ability of these nanobots to target individual cells with high levels of precision. Scientists believe human trials could even begin within five years’ time.
I don’t know if I want to be part of the first wave of humans getting DNA nanobots implanted into their bodies, but if it shows promise, sign me up.
How interesting that a cockroach could hold the next potential solution to cure cancer and other degenerative diseases. Although this is a creative idea, I still want to know exactly what researchers and medical professionals are injecting in these roaches especially if this is the next practice that will affect my friends and family.
Cockroaches? Interesting choice of samples! I wonder if they have considered how the DNA of certain animals may differ from that of humans. If this sort of computer technology were to be so intertwined to the extent of being apart of our very DNA that might even open up possibilities for developing the Hollywood idea of robotic humans. I am curious as to where this research is taking place, is it at universities or is it government funded?
I agree with you in that this is simultaneously an exciting and scary idea. It’s great that cochroaches could be the answer for cancer treatment in the future! However, I’m wondering how much more must be done to insure their efficiency and use in the future.
This is very interesting. I wonder, if this plays out well enough for these researchers and doctors to start collecting cockroaches to modify them in such a way that they will be used for medical treatment, if this will have an impact on the cockroach population and their role in the environment as a whole.
Haha, I wouldn’t mind having a C64 on the back on a bug.
I know a lot of people would be concerned about this technology being used for spying and surveillance but it has some really great potential uses for medicine and even rescue missions. Some more technology that I really hope takes off strongly.