Spermbots: Remote-controlled sperm, for guaranteed delivery
2013-12-17 0:00

By John Hewitt | ExtremeTech



Sperm cells are basically motorized packets of DNA. Once their fuse is lit, they burn full bore like a solid fuel bottle rocket until they reach their target. If used as directed, they eventually meet up with an egg for a quick round of Castle Seige, then expire like salmon after a spawn. Researchers from the Dresden Institute for Integrative Nanosciences, a stronghold of Germany ingenuity, realized that if these minions could be trained, or rather, entrained, they might be harnessed to creative end.

The Dresden researchers came up with something they call a spermbot. It is really more of a sperm boat, made from tapered tubes of iron and titanium. Since sperm deploy just a single flagellum, and don’t have a reverse gear, if they don one of these tubes, they wear it for life. The researchers can then control the exact heading of the sperm by manipulating external magnetic fields which tug at the iron nanoparticles embedded in the tube. They can also increase the speed of the sperm by increasing the temperature. In principle local temperature control through focused laser might even allow individual sperm to be directly selected for a higher purpose.



Applications for this new technology are developing at a furious pace. Those who thought in vitro fertilization was cool can’t wait to try their hand at in vivo magnetically-enhanced insemination. Targeted drug delivery may also be possible using specialized sperm shuttles. Even non-biologic tools based on sperm propulsion could built to act as microassemblers. There is also just the sheer entertainment value of robotsperm for use in next generation battlebots.

Some of the more precision capabilities of sperm came to light recently with the claims that mice can pass on an acquired fear of specific events through some unknown agent in their sperm. The question remains as to how all this programming is actually done. With an experimental platform like the Dresden spermbot gymnasium, not only might sperm reveal some of their secrets through their behaviors, but those skills might actually be selected for, or even influenced.

[...]

Read the full article at: extremetech.com




READ: Mystery Malady Kills More Bees - Will We Rebuild With Robots?




Related Articles
Gay sperm donor ordered to pay child support for daughters 13 years later
Russian sperm bank for bears: Surrogate grizzly to carry polar cubs
Prisoner smuggles sperm out to wife, has son
It DOES make a difference which wins the race: Huge differences in DNA of sperm
Wi-Fi kills sperm
One Sperm Donor with 150 Sons and Daughters
Donor Unknown: Adventures in the Sperm Trade (Documentary)
Court says widow can use dead husband’s sperm
Is sex necessary for reproduction?
Government Genome Project to Sequence DNA of All US Babies at Birth
Making Babies After Death: It’s Possible, But Is It Ethical?
UK Public OK with creating babies from 3 people to avoid genetic diseases
World’s first GM babies born
Mice Inherit the Fears of Their Fathers
300 Million Chinese Men Descended From Just 3 Stone Age Grandfathers?


Latest News from our Front Page

Galaxy Poll: 86 per cent of Australians want childhood vaccination to be compulsory?
2015-04-17 23:33
Australians want Prime Minister Tony Abbott to make childhood vaccination compulsory and close loopholes that allow vaccine refusers to put all children at risk. An exclusive national Galaxy poll commissioned by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed overwhelming support to ensure every child is vaccinated. The highest support for compulsory jabs is in South Australia, where 90 per cent support the call. The poll ...
Eye in the sky: Local police now using drones to spy on citizens
2015-04-17 22:09
The Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office is doing something that no other agency in Harris County is believed to have done yet: Use drones to help fight crime. It's an eye in the sky for law enforcement, without giving up the element of surprise. "It could absolutely save lives," says Constable Alan Rosen. Rosen says the agency's two new $1,200 drones, which ...
New Zealander of the Year: refuse vaccines, lose money
2015-04-17 22:47
Following in the footsteps of Australia, 2014 New Zealander of the Year, Dr. Lance O’Sullivan, wants to punish people who don’t get vaccinated. The New Zealand Herald (4/15) reports: “A leading New Zealand doctor has called on the Government to follow Australia’s example to cut child welfare payments to families who do not vaccinate their children, saying the policy would help protect ...
Iris Scanner Identifies a Person 40 Feet Away
2015-04-17 22:20
Police traffic stops are in the news again, tragically, sparking a new round of discussion on whether and how to outfit police with cameras and other technology. For several years now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Biometrics Center have been testing an iris recognition system that can be used to identify subjects at a range of up to 40 feet. Like ...
Yes, You Can Catch Insanity
2015-04-17 22:29
One day in March 2010, Isak McCune started clearing his throat with a forceful, violent sound. The New Hampshire toddler was 3, with a Beatles mop of blonde hair and a cuddly, loving personality. His parents had no idea where the guttural tic came from. They figured it was springtime allergies. Soon after, Isak began to scream as if in pain ...
More News »