Build your own (not so nano but fun) bot

Everyone wants to be an evil scientist and create their own little nanobot. Well that is hard but building something cool and entertaining with a few parts isn't. The bristle bot is a self-propelled little thing that scoots along the floor. It isn't hard to build and you can find the parts in a lot of different places. The motor is the same one that you find in a cell phone that can vibrate (we don't recommend tearing into a cell phone, especially one that works). This activity was developed by Windell Oskay at Evil Mad Scientist. Check him out.

Keeping 'em honest

A warning from the International Cycling Union, no nanotech at the Olympic games in London 2012. "At London in 2012 we can guarantee there will be no-one using bikes, equipment and not even clothing (that is illegal) - because we are aware of developments in nanotechnology that can aid athletes in ways that would be outside the rules." said Pat McQuaid, chief of the UCI. Maybe we need to sponsor a nanotech olympics and give out nano gold medals.

One hair at a time

Little machines, so small they can enter your body and zoom around fixing stuff.  The great scifi classic 'Fantastic Voyage' was all about that, shrinking not just a space ship but all of the folks inside and then zooming around the blood stream.  While that will never happen, building tools so small that they can work inside the body without cutting big holes in you is an important area.  Scientists are building all sorts of devices that will hold and cut and mend small parts in your body.  The big challenge is building them and then powering them.  One way to provide power is to use polymers that respond to heating or some external chemicals.  The polymer changes its shape and causes the parts that the polymer is attached to---in this case the arms of a gripper---to close.  These tiny grippers might be used to grab cancer cells and then bring back samples for analysis.  For more information:

Power up while you boggie

It takes energy to move.  Move to the kitchen, to school, to the couch.  And there is a lot of energy that can be captured from these movements.  Maybe you have a pair of those sneakers with the lights?  They capture the energy from walking and uses it to power a few tiny light bulbs.  Now scientists are trying to take it to the next level by developing more sophisticated nanodevices and make them cheaper.  They use these things called piezoelectric crystals.  Piezoelectric things have been around since the mid-18th century but these new ones are printed and they can be printed onto flexible materials that are also biocompatible.  So maybe you don't want them stitched to the bottom of your feet but perhaps they can be stuck onto a lot of different things making energy for all sorts of devices. No more need to change the battery unless you become a couch potato.
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