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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Not Much Bigger Than A Strip Of DNA: Racing Nano Cars

Race of World’s Tiniest Cars Set to Drive Nano-Robot Revolution

Aviva Rutkin | January 18, 2016

[Blogger's note: In the U.S. automobile racing has driven some technology developments for cars. This might be similar.]

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You’ve never seen a race like this before. In fact, no one has, because the cars are too small to see with the naked eye.
This November, scientists from around the world will meet in Toulouse, France, for a world first: a car race conducted at the nanoscopic level. The race will test the capabilities of molecular machines which pave the way for future devices, ones that can practice medicine inside our bodies, or help us build computers.
There are five teams slated to compete, from France, the US, Austria, Germany and Japan (see box below). Each one’s nanocar is different: some are like macroscopic automobiles, with four wheels, axles, chassis and a small “motor”. Others have parts custom-designed for the car’s tiny environment. Even the largest is just a few nanometres long – a little wider than a strip of DNA.

Meet the nanocar racing teams
Nanocar Team Rice University in Houston, Texas, and Graz Universität in Graz, Austria.Team co-leader James Tour was the first to successfully build a nanocar in 2005
Nanomobile Club Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France. With the official race microscope located nearby, Tour says this team has a home advantage: “The instrument is in their house, in their backyard.”
Nano-Vehicle MANA-NIMS National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan. This team’s tiny car clocks in at about 1 nanometre long, about the same size as a molecule of glucose.
Ohio Bobcat Nanowagon Team Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The car’s large wagon-like wheels are made of cucurbituril, circular molecules named for a type of pumpkin.
Nano-Windmill Company Technische Universität in Dresden, Germany. Their car’s shape is reminiscent of the vanes of a windmill and has an advantage when turning around obstacles, says competitor Eric Masson.

<more at [note: free registration needed to access this artilce, but the hassle is worth it!]; related links: (Nanorockets could deliver drugs inside the body. September 28, 2011) and (Tough robo-challenge casts robots as rescuers. The DARPA Robotics Challenge will see humanoid robots competing to complete rescue missions, and could lead to robots better adapted to living alongside us. September 11, 2013)>

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